Poem Town

national-poetry-month-520x271I just submitted a grant application for a project I’ve been thinking about . . . maybe all my life. Poem Town. There’s some inspiration there from Edgar Lee Masters who created Spoon River Anthology, a collection of poems from former residents of Spoon River talking from the grave. When I taught high school, we always created a town and emulated Spoon River by collaborating on a cast of characters and then writing poems to go with each one. Imagining a town and its inhabitants and the stories that intertwine and create the community is an exciting, inspiring act.

Poem Town, however, will not be about imaginary people. It will be real people, the people of my hometown Locust Grove. The project will involve having everyone in the community writing poetry about their lives, our town, our history, their family history, life. Poems will be collected and displayed in numerous ways all over town. A Poem Town center will be opened on Main Street. The goal will be to have every single person in the town and the schools write a poem and share it.

Today, I continue to write poetry. I cannot not be a poet. But my work is not in publishing or poetry readings or recitations, though those are fine pursuits. Writer and minister Frederick Buechner has a famous quote about our work or our calling as “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Poem Town is that place for me. Poem Life (my one-woman show) is also. And so it goes.

–Shaun Perkins



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