As Prof. Kimberly Blaeser’s term as Wisconsin Poet Laureate nears its end, she will be hosting a special Recitation Event in Milwaukee. She has scheduled an evening of performances on Wednesday, November 30th at the Hefter Center (3271 N Lake Dr.), beginning at 7:00 PM.
Attendees are asked to come with a poem by a published poet memorized, and then recite it during the program. The poem must be by a poet other than yourself. However, poets are invited to perform a second poem of their own. Poems in all languages are welcome. If you do recite a poem from another language, please also provide the English translation.
Woodland Pattern Book Center will be on hand to sell books for this event and we will have refreshments, so this will also be an opportunity to promote your publications.
Why memorize? Having poetry at our fingertips—or on our lips—as we go through our daily lives can enrich us in many ways. Recitation was once a common art, one Prof. Blaeser would like to help revive. When we know poems ‘by heart,’ they inhabit us and we them in a particular way. We internalize the images, the ideas, and the poem’s re-seeing of the world, we experience the felt rhythm of the language. The poem becomes another part of the vocabulary with which we can encounter and process our experiences in the world. It becomes a tool of celebration and of survival. Each poem we memorize adds to our intangible wealth.
To help spread the word about poetry, as a part of this ongoing project, recitations are recorded and posted to an interactive map. You can find samples of previous recitations here:
Past recitation events have been easygoing with great audience support. Reminders of specific details will be sent to all who sign up, but for now let me tell you that for the videotape you will introduce yourself and the poem and may also make comments about poetry or your experience with the recitation if you like.
Please contact Prof. Blaeser (firstname.lastname@example.org), Chuck Stebelton (email@example.com) and Soham Patel (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to participate in the recitation event. Put “MILWAUKEE RECITATION” in the subject line. Feel free to contact any of the above with any questions you might have.