In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, the South Pasadena Public Library invites residents of all ages to contribute to a crowdsourced poem to be written by South Pasadena’s Poet Laureate Ron Koertge.
By News Desk
Koertge came up with the idea after he was inspired by young poet Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” (read to great acclaim at President Biden’s inauguration) and by National Public Radio’s Poet-in-Residence Kwame Alexander, who recently called for contributions to his crowdsourced poem “This is Our Dream,” resulting in 2,500 contributions.
As poetry inspires and delights, Koertge seeks to craft a poem with the help of his fellow South Pasadenans that can be enjoyed by all. The theme for the poem is “Beginnings.” Contributors are asked to mine their thoughts and memories and submit one or two lines or a phrase.
Beginnings mean different things to different people. Planting a garden is for sure a new beginning. So is adopting a dog or cat. Quitting one job and getting another. A father makes a different sandwich for his kids’ lunch. Someone says she’s sorry and wants to start over. What does beginning mean to you? Send me some ideas, please, and let’s see if I can turn them into a poem. If you need a prompt, start like this: ‘A beginning is….’ Pretend we’re sitting around a fire and we’re writing a story together. Not my story, but ours.
How to contribute
Residents of all ages, from children to seniors, are encouraged to contribute. The crowdsourced community poem will be published on the Library’s website during National Poetry Month in April. Contributions are due by Friday, March 19 and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to the Library with the word “Beginnings” written on the envelope, or dropped off at the Library Takeout door during Takeout hours. Contributors will be recognized by name unless anonymity is requested.
Ron Koertge is a nationally-honored poet and novelist and a two-time winner of the PEN Literary Award for Children’s Literature. He’s the author of 10 acclaimed poetry collections including Yellow Moving Van and Olympusville and 12 novels. His prose poem “Negative Space” was the basis of the 2018 Academy Award-nominated animated short film directed by Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter. Koertge has also shared his wisdom with students over many decades as a distinguished college writing instructor.
Source: City of South Pasadena. Edited by Ann Hunnewell
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