WATSONVILLE — To help fill the south county’s lack of poetry reading events, the Watsonville Public Library rolled out its monthly “Poets’ Circle” readings on Thursday.
Produced by Santa Cruz poet Magdalena Montagne, the reading event took place Thursday and will be held the second Thursday of the month thereafter from 6-8 p.m. through April.
Starting off the first reading event is T. Mike Walker, who is executive director of the Santa Cruz Art League. Walker grew up in San Francisco and received his master’s degree in language arts from San Francisco State University, where he taught Creative Writing from 1962-65.
Walker’s first novel, “A Way From The World: A Policeman’s Journal,” was published in 1970 by Grove Press. He then taught creative writing at Cabrillo College from 1968-98 and served as Santa Cruz Art League Board President from 2006-10.
Poets’ Circle is funded by a grant from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County.
Montagne approached Watonka Addison, Adult Services Librarian at the Watsonville Public Library, about offering a poetry writing workshop, similar to the workshops that Montagne runs monthly through the Santa Cruz Public Library.
The idea soon shifted into a poetry reading series. The library previously had a reading series, but, as Montagne said, “had died out for a reason no one could remember.”
“We felt reviving a reading series would revitalize interest in the many aspects of poetry,” she said. “South county historically doesn’t have as many poetry readings as Santa Cruz proper. There are so many wonderful poets in this area.”
“It’s really exciting to bring poetry to south county,” Addison agreed. “There’s really an excitement and demand for that to happen here.”
Each month, a featured poet will read for about 20 minutes. Afterword, there will be an open mic where anyone in the audience can read from their own poems or another’s.
Local poets scheduled for the upcoming months include Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County David Swanger, John Lau, Maggie Paul and Patti Sirens.
Poetry is an important part of people’s lives, Montagne and Addison said, and Poets’ Circle will help satisfy that need.
“Poetry is many things to many people,” Addison said. “It draws people out in a unique way and gives them expression. Some say it brings a sense of completion in their life.”
“Poetry is so important in our culture,” Montagne added. “I feel that the south county, Watsonville, Freedom, Corralitos areas, needed to benefit from these types of events. Attending a poetry reading can be inspiring and it certainly provides a sense of community and connection that reading poetry online or in printed form can’t quite offer. Poetry is a positive antidote to the usual negative news.”
For information about Poets’ Circle, contact Addison at 768-3419 or Montagne at 252-5776. The Watsonville Public Library is located at 275 Main St., Watsonville. Additional information about other poetry events can be found on Montagne’s website at www.poetrycircle-magdalena.com.
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