Friday, October 20, 2017

My Big Fat Poetry Reading

Franklin, MA Senior Center

FIVE MORE DAYS!  In five more days, on October 25, 2017, My Favorite Poem Project will happen.  Here's the line-up of readers.  The order is alphabetical according to the poet.

A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou, read by Dr. Dawn Poirier, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Dean College
Caged Bird by Maya Angelou, read by students in Horace Mann’s sixth grade
The Lanyard by Billy Collins, read by Franklin Library Director, Dr. Felicia Oti
Poem 341 Hope Is A Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson, read by Horance Mann teacher, Noreen Langmeyer
The Calf Path by Sam Foss, read by our Town Administrator, Jeff Nutting
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, read by Franklin Cable TV, Ken Norman
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, read by Jeffrey Roy our State Representative  
Democracy by Langston Hughes, read by Horace Mann teacher, Joe Corey  
Go Down Death, by James Weldon Johnson, read by Senior Scribbler, Clarice Cargill
Untitled—by Barbara Karmelin, read by Senior Scribbler, Barbara Karmelin
If, by Rudyard Kipling, read by Jean Burke of the Norfolk Quill Writers’ Group
Mother Earth’s Hair by Charmagne Laprise, read by Senior Scribbler, Charmagne Laprise
If Only We Were Taller by Ray Bradbury, read by the Editor for the Country Gazette and Wicked Local Franklin, Heather Swails-McCarron
Mr. Macklin’s Jack O’Lantern  by David McCord, read by Faith Flaherty
Sleeping in the Forest by Mary Oliver, read by Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Sara Ahern
The Story of the Christmas Guest by Helen Steiner Rice, read by the President of Franklin Interfaith Council, Georgia Sander
Sick by Shel Silverstein, read by Franklin High School Principal, Paul Peri

I Am by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, read by Horace Mann Principal, Rebecca Motte

That is essentially the program.  On the back of the program is this quote.  Jeffrey Roy, my state representative suggested the idea. 

Less than a month before his assignation, on October 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was giving a speech at the ground breaking ceremony for the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College.   His speech didn’t deal with foreign or domestic policy or any politics, at all.  Instead, it recognized the vital role the poet plays in a free society.  It is well worth your quiet reflection. 
…Our national strength matters, but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much. This was the special significance of Robert Frost. He brought an unsparing instinct for reality to bear on the platitudes and pieties of society. His sense of the human tragedy fortified him against self-deception and easy consolation. "I have been," he wrote, "one acquainted with the night." And because he knew the midnight as well as the high noon, because he understood the ordeal as well as the triumph of the human spirit, he gave his age strength with which to overcome despair. At bottom, he held a deep faith in the spirit of man, and it's hardly an accident that Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment. The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover's quarrel with the world… in retrospect, we see how the artist's fidelity has strengthened the fiber of our national life. If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist… 

What do you think?

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