It was a gloriously damp weekend for much of the start of ArtWeek, which meant good visibility for the Emily Dickinson Museum’s installation of rain poetry in downtown Amherst. Below are some of the poems that I spotted walking around town (including mine!)
“To see the Summer Sky Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie True Poems flee” by Emily Dickinson
“A man leaves his path written across the snow But more elegant and modest: silver tracings left by snails.” by Manuel Becera
“Not that I have forgotten robins, playgrounds, the crocus’ imperial glow, nor breeze-tousled pondweed– still my camera catalogs the evidence: item: one budding branch; item: one lawn, indifferent green– to prove unto the jury of myself the truth of spring.” by Meg Winikates
Florence Poetry Carnival
Up the road from where I live, the neighborhood of Florence hosted their first ever “Poetry Carnival” on Saturday afternoon, which was fairly well attended despite the chill and damp. A number of local institutions sent representatives, including the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Forbes Library, the Freckled Fox Cafe, Poems2Go, and Perugia Press. There were writing activities and poetry-inspired crafts, an open mic session, and a discussion/reading between the outgoing and incoming Florence Poets Laureate. Though it was small, in the absence this year of the statewide MassPoetry Festival, it was lovely to spend an afternoon among other poetry readers, writers, and enthusiasts.
This was my favorite activity brought by the Emily Dickinson Museum, which plays with Dickinson’s habit of using variants in her poetry (lines where there are options for more than one word to fill out the thought), and invites attendees to add their own variants to her poem “Water is taught by thirst.” I added “the return of dawn” as a variant to “Birds, by the….”
Blackout poem by Meg Winikates, from a recycled book page provided by Northampton’s Forbes Library. The librarians were collecting the poems created that day for the library’s zine club to turn into a zine commemorating the day, so I left mine behind to participate. I also found out the library has a massive poetry collection, which I’m looking forward to exploring.