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“April hath put a spirit of youth poetry in everything,” including the Santa Barbara event calendars. In honor of National Poetry Month, here are the readings, workshops, special events, and celebrations created to stir our literary senses and entertain us for the next few weeks.

Teens are invited to kick off National Poetry Month with Santa Barbara Youth Poet Ambassador Kundai Chikowero on Saturday, April 1, from 2-3:30 p.m. with a “Poetry and Social Justice Zine Workshop” at the Eastside Library (1102 E. Montecito St.). Teens can learn about and discuss different types of poetry, find out how poetry can help build communities, and create their own poetry zines to share.

CAW’s Effect, the second annual SBCAW Outreach Committee group show on Saturday, April 1, from 12:30-3:30 p.m. at the Community Arts Workshop (631 Garden St.), includes a poetry showcase at 1 p.m., featuring several Santa Barbara Poets Laureates, including: Perie Longo, David Starkey, Chryss Yost, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, and Emma Trelles, who will end her term this month, when the new Poet Laureate is affirmed by the Santa Barbara City Council on April 18. 

Also on Saturday, April 1, former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Laure-Anne Bosselaar and Susan Read Cronin host a poetry reading and the launch of Cronin’s new book What’s Left from 3-4 p.m. at Tecolote Book Shop (1470 E. Valley Rd., Montecito).

Writing Through the Apocalypse, Pandemic Poetry and Prose, is a collection of 63 essays and poems by writers from all over the world who have been writing together on Zoom every week since March 2020, with the book project produced by publisher Marcia Meier. Santa Barbara writers who will gather for a reading on Tuesday, April 4, at 6 p.m. at Chaucer’s Books (3321 State St.) include Independent contributors George Yatchisin and Justine Sutton, as well as locals Toni Bixby, Valerie Anne Burns, Amy E. Davis, John Glanville, Juliana Lightle, Nancy Shobe, Claire van Blaricum, and Deborah Wroblewski. 

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Independent contributor David Starkey host “Poetry in the Garden: A Reading in Celebration of National Poetry Month” on Saturday, April 8 from 2:30-5 p.m. (1212 Mission Canyon Rd.), with a reading featuring poets Gudrun Bortman, Mary Brown, Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, Emma Trelles, and Paul Willis. Entrance is free with admission, but registration is requested.

Friday, April 14 at 5 p.m. is the deadline for both established and aspiring poets to submit their entries to the Santa Barbara Independent and UCSB Arts & Lectures Poetry Contest, inspired by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s poem “Instructions on Not Giving Up.” Participants are invited to submit an original poem about the qualities of leadership and vision with two categories, K-12 students or age 18+. One winner in each category will have their poem published in the Independent and will also receive a copy of Ada Limón’s book The Hurting Kind, a $50 gift certificate to Chaucer’s Books, and a $500 A&L ticket voucher good through 2024. 

“From Bacchus to Berryman, from Li Po to Dorothy Parker, drink and lyric flights have danced a long, sometimes loving, sometimes leery waltz,” says George Yatchisin, organizer of the annual “Spirits in the Air: Potent Potable Poetry” reading, which brings boozy verse to The Good Lion (1212 State St.) on April 19 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The ninth annual edition of this deliciously fun event features readings by Christopher Buckley, Michelle Detorie, Independent Contributor Rebecca Horrigan, Diana Raab, Linda Saccoccio, David Starkey (Santa Barbara Poet Laureate III), Emma Trelles (Santa Barbara Poet Laureate IX), Jace Turner, and Chryss Yost (Santa Barbara Poet Laureate V). 

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Chaucer’s Books (3321 State St.) will host several local poets — including Avrom Altman,  ML Brown, Christopher Buckley, Emily Lord-Kambitsch, Christine Penko, and Daniel Thomas — who will read from their recent works on Monday, April 24, at 6 p.m.

U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón, the first woman of Mexican ancestry to be named to this honor, comes to UCSB Campbell Hall on Tuesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. for a special Arts & Lectures presentation on “Why We Need Poetry.” Limón is the author of six books of poetry, and her latest book, The Hurting Kind, was named one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2022.

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