Saturday, February 11, 2012

The 7th Annual CruMoPoPerFest

Each April, during National Poetry Month, the Baltimore-based organization Poetry in the Community — along with local literary organizations, publishers, and poets — sponsors a free community-centric festival with readings, performances, free poetry distribution, public poetry displays, and more. Readings are hosted by a diverse group of poets and literary organizations and are held in venues that support community sustainability. Open mic is featured at each event to encourage new and emerging talent to make their presence known.

Poetry in the Community, in partnership with the Village Learning Place, Waverly Main Street, Waverly Library, and, kick off National Poetry Month with a FREE reading and performance series celebrating the diverse literary talents of Baltimore’s best poets, writers and performers. A War of 1812 Commemoration, a day-long celebration of poetry on 33rd Street, and four nights of readings are hosted by a local arts or literary organization that reflects the promise of creative and collaborative literacy in and around our community. Featured poets will read from their books, and performers will dramatize the various poetic forms via song, dance, and theatre. An open mic for our audience members will follow. Light refreshments will also be served, and you will have a chance to speak with the performers and buy their books.

But that’s only the beginning. We thought that, in order for poetry to live, we must celebrate it as an organic and natural part of our environment, something outside the confines of books, libraries and our private thoughts. Poetry in the Community is curating a walking tour of poetry in the Waverly, Charles Village, and surrounding areas called Poem Walk: A Living Text. Businesses and organizations will exhibit poetry on their storefronts and counters while restaurants and cafes display poems at dining tables. It is a chance for locals and visitors alike to experience the surprise of literature in places we never expect—exactly what good literature is supposed to do. And it also introduces patrons of the arts to the thriving and diverse establishments that define the Baltimore experience. A map of the Poem Walk: A Living Text tour is available online and at participating businesses, cafes, and restaurants.


Poetry in the Community presents the 7th Annual Cruellest Month Poetry and Performance Festival. This is poetry in performance; off the page; of, by, and for the community. Musical interludes and refreshments, as well as an open mic will be included in each evening’s activities. Free for all ages.

April 1: National Poetry Month in Baltimore kicks off with Poetry in the Community poets participating in the Waverly Main Street War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration. Starts at 12 PM. 3009 Greenmount Avenue, 21218 (St. John’s in the Village).


April continues with four nights of poetry at the Village Learning Place, located at 2521 Saint Paul Street, 21218-4607. Parking is available for free on the street after 6 PM.

April 5: claims poetry is a haven from modern life chaos and cures disconnection. Julie Fisher will host an evening of poets who brandish their poems, wave them as banners, shine their poems’ benevolence upon us, and, above all, bequeath poems to us in all their Baltimore-ness! Featuring: Elizabeth Smith, Chris “Batworth” Ciattei, Slangston Hughes, Temple, Deanna Nikaido, and Bruce Jacobs. Starts at 6:30 PM.

April 12: Village Learning PlaceCome to the Village Learning Place to celebrate National Library Week! We’re celebrating the unveiling of the new “Read the Small Print” collection, dedicated to local small-press writers. Enjoy a free evening of readings, performances, and refreshments in the Village Learning Place’s historic Charles Village library. Celebration begins at 7:00 PM.

April 17: Artichoke Haircut presents an editors feature, with readings by the makers of the magazine of the same name: Justin Sanders, Jonathan Gavazzi, Adam Shutz, and Melissa Street. Starts at 6:30 PM.

April 26: Just in time for prom season, it’s a Poetic Formal! Come in your best (or worst) formal wear for a reading of form poems—from the traditional to the twisted. Poets Shirley Brewer, Clarinda Harriss, Bruce Sager, and Laura Shovan will be your chaperones and featured readers for an evening of glorious ghazals, sumptuous sestinas, tasty triolets, and seductive sonnets. Prizes will be awarded for formal wear, including: Worst Recycled Bridesmaid Dress, Best Blast from the Past, What Not to Wear, Best Accessories, Best Consignment Couture, and Crème de la Red Carpet. Starts at 6:30 PM.


April 28: The Waverly Library will host a free poetry reading and performance featuring members of the local literary community. Special performance by Outside the Box, an interactive exploration of the Elements of Music through beatboxing, lead by Max Bent, Waverly resident and Young Audiences of Maryland Teaching Artist. Also featured will be dramatic performances from Magus Magnus’ Idylls for a Bare Stage. Starts at 11:00 AM.


Check out these other events as Baltimore celebrates National Poetry Month:

April 14: Join us at the ninth annual CityLit Festival at Pratt Library. Featuring: Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson; award-winning poets Edward Hirsch Tom Lux; actor/writer Benjamin Busch; and many more authors for a day-long celebration of literature.

April 4, 11, and 18: Poetry-Writing Workshops. Clarinda Harriss teaches the craft. Enoch Pratt Central Library, Poe Room, 6:30 PM to 7:45 PM. Preregister by calling 410-396-5487. Class size is limited. Attendance at all three workshops is preferred but not required. Open to anyone 16 or older.