In 2010 Poet’s Corner was started at Scarritt-Bennett Center. Since its beginning 60+ poets have participated in the monthly readings, some coming from as far away as California, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Various themes have surfaced: religious and faith-based; emotions including love, hate, hurt, frustration, etc; personal reflections and observations of life; nature; resistance to the “isms” of society. Their initial purposes were to provide a space for poets to read their work in an informal setting, to talk about their poems, and to be in dialogue with the audience. Audiences have included family, friends, former students, other poets, and many simply interested in hearing good poetry.
Poetry comes in many forms – some in classic literary style such as a sonnet, while some almost seem and reads like prose. Whatever the style, poems express emotion; reflect the poet’s view of the world; gives new meaning often times to reality; evokes feelings from the reader/listener; opens one’s eyes to the beauty and the ugly in the world; explores dreams and the “what ifs” of life; and explores God and religion using new metaphors that challenge and inspire.
In the United States today more and more poets are using their skills and words to be “politically responsible” members of society by expressing their resistance to racism, anti-immigrant feelings, the degradation of women, the plight of the environment/climate; religious superiority, etc. They are challenging what they are seeing and experiencing as environment controls are withdrawn; Muslims are seen to be evil; racial minorities are profiled by police; bullying is not only on the playground but in Washington, DC. In January of this year (2017), Scarritt Bennett co-sponsored a poetry reading “Writers Resist” with the participation of 20 poets and an attendance of over 100 people. It showed that individually and together poets can have an impact on people’s reaction and response to these important issues. Poets of today are following the long tradition of resistance including such persons as William Wordsworth, Charles Wesley, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson and more recently Maya Angelo, Ted Kooser, Tiana Clark, and Joseph Powell.
Throughout 2019 Scarritt Bennett will have an array of poets speaking to a wide variety of topics. Click here to view their event calendar.