Montpelier transformed into ‘Poem City’ for National Poetry Month

Published: Apr. 23, 2023 at 9:22 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Storefronts and restaurant windows throughout Montpelier are plastered with poems during the month of April.

Poem City is a local festival of words, hosted by the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. The festivities fill National Poetry Month with readings, workshops and talks.

“So we create a walkable anthology of local poetry and Vermont poetry. People go around downtown Montpelier on their day doing their bank and getting a cup of coffee, and they stop, and they read poetry,” said Michelle Singer of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

This year, 350 poems were written by Vermonters of all ages from across the state. About 100 of the poets are students, and for the first time since the first festival 14 years ago, all the poems have been published in an anthology.

“It’s student work. It’s people. It’s the former poet laureate of Vermont, it’s everybody who participates,” Singer said. “One of the founding tenets of Poem City was that everybody’s a poet. So, everybody gets to be a published poet and a public poet.”

Singer says this is the first year Poem City has been back to nearly pre-pandemic levels of participation. And says she was happy to see the poetry enthusiasts come together again.

“There’s something about the way that poetry can bring us all together, and just create that community bond in us,” Singer said.

People walking around town say they love seeing the poems pop up.

“I really enjoy it a lot. I used to be a teacher and it’s really fun. It improves literacy of children… expanding their abilities to write and create and do all kinds of, you know, art,” Lauren Kittredge said.

Kittredge says she looks forward to getting to read the words written by their fellow Vermonters.

“It’s neat to read about what’s going on in people’s minds and from you know, where you live. Like, I don’t know what I’m gonna read. It’s better than like opening up with one person’s poetry book and reading poems,” she said.

The poetry party will continue on throughout the rest of April.