April is famous for many things: showers, fools, and painted eggs among them. Fewer may know that, since 1996, cities across America have also celebrated the art of poetry in April. In our own little hamlet, this month offers no less than 18 distinct poetry-related events, from contests and readings to lectures and tributes. Poets and poetry appreciators of all ages are welcome to take part in this celebration of the written word. For a full list of events, visit creativewriting.sbcc.edu/poetrymonth.html. Below you’ll find just some of April Poetry Month’s highlights.
1) Published Poets Read: On Saturday, April 3, the Santa Barbara Poetry Series will be devoted to regional poets who have published a book in the past year. The lineup includes Ellen A. Kelley, Joyce La Mers, Glenna Luschei, Melinda Palacio, Peg Quinn, Diana Raab, David Starkey, and Paul Willis. This free event takes place at the Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery (40 E. Anapamu St.) at 7 p.m., and copies of the poets’ books will be available for purchase.
2) The Mission Poetry Series Continues: For the second reading of its inaugural season, the Mission Poetry Series will host Dan Gerber, Joyce La Mers, and Angelica Jochim for a free reading on Sunday, April 11, at 1 p.m. The free event takes place on the grounds of Old Mission Santa Barbara (2201 Laguna St.)—a serene spot for letting the balm of poetry seep into your consciousness.
3) Young Poets Speak: As in years past, junior high and high school-aged writers will submit their poems to the Santa Barbara Young Poets Contest. The winners will give a reading at the Faulkner Gallery on Thursday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. This event is a favorite every year, with poems ranging from the poignant reflections on the fleeting nature of life to feisty punk-rock manifestos.
4) Poets Respond to Art: Then on Sunday, April 25, 1-3 p.m., invited poets will gather at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (1130 State St.) to share their responses to masterpieces currently on loan from the Walters Art Museum. It’s not often you’ll hear a poem written in reaction to a Degas, a Monet, or an Ingres; this is your chance to revel in the interplay between artistic genres and across more than a century.
5) Spacks Runs a Poetry Marathon: It wouldn’t be April Poetry Month without the traditional Poetry Marathon, which takes place this year on Friday, April 30, 7-9 p.m. at the Contemporary Arts Forum (653 Paseo Nuevo). Poet Laureate Emeritus Barry Spacks hosts the reading, which features a full complement of area poets.