Are we nuts? 5 Poets Write Custom Poems on Demand in Public

This Sunday, April 6, poets Brendan Constantine, Yvonne M. Estrada, Peter J. Harris, Lynne Thompson and Terry Wolverton will test their mettle and celebrate National Poetry Month at Skylight Books. If you’d like us to pen a poem for your pooch, scribe a sonnet for your secretary, or ink iambs about the Indianapolis 500, come to Skylight Books, 1818 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027 from 2-4 p.m.

You’ll be assigned to a poet, describe the poem you’re hoping for, and the poet will go to work. Within approximately 30 minutes you’ll leave with a signed copy of a poem by a celebrated poet, written just for you.  And yes, it’s free.

It’s on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t miss out! These five poets are just crazy enough to pull this off.

THEN, go grab a latte and stick around for the 5 p.m. National Poetry Month reading by Poets At Work: Kim Dower, Yvonne M. Estrada, Dylan Cameron Gailey, Brett Guitar Hofer, Eric Howard, Kay Sundstrom Sharon Venezio, Tina Yang and Terry Wolverton. Watch and listen as they pull a round of winning hands from the poetry deck.

 

A Poem Created Just for You at “A Poem for You” to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Terry Wolverton holds magnetic poetry in her hands. Photo by Angela Brinskele.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Skylight Books teams up with Writers At Work to bring you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: Five widely published and highly regarded poets — Brendan Constantine, Yvonne M. Estrada, Peter J. Harris, Lynne Thompson and Terry Wolverton — will create “A Poem for You,” an original poem written spontaneously and just for you or a designated recipient.

Just think — an original poem to give your loved ones; congratulate friends or colleagues on a new job, a marriage, a baby; commemorate a special moment. You can even request a curse poem for someone who did you wrong.

Here’s how it works: Come to Skylight Books on Sunday, April 6, 2014, between 2-4 p.m. You’ll be matched with one of the poets and have the opportunity to tell them the content you’re looking for. The poet will go to work while you browse the store, and within 20-30 minutes, you’ll receive a signed copy of your poem.

Poem-seekers will be assigned to poets on a first-come, first-served basis. Poem-seekers will give input, but poets will maintain their poetic license to interpret as the muse guides them. Poets will retain the copyright to their work (they can publish it; you cannot).

Skylight Books is located at 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, Calif.

Participating Poets

Brendan Constantine is the author of Letters to Guns, Birthday Girl With Possum and Calamity Joe. He is poet-in-residence at Windward School and has brought poetry workshops to libraries, hospitals, foster-care centers, correctional facilities and shelters for the homeless. He is also proud of his work with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. He currently curates a reading series in partnership with the Craft and Folk Art Museum. www.brendanconstantine.com

Yvonne M. Estrada is a poet and photographer. Her recent chapbook, My Name on Top of Yours, features both poems and original photographs. Her poetry has been published in Emerging Urban Poets Workshop Anthology (vols. 1-3), … and in fact there was no ceiling fan, (en)closures, San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, Catena, Mischief, Caprice & Other Poetic Strategies, Pulse Magazine, GuerrillaReads, Verse Wisconsin and the Poem of the Month 2011 Calendar.

Peter J. Harris is founding director of The Black Man of Happiness Project, a creative, intellectual and artistic exploration of Black men and joy. He has published poetry, essays and fiction in national publications; worked as a publisher, journalist, editor and broadcaster; and been an educator and workshop leader for adults and adolescents. Bless the Ashes, a book of poetry, will be published in fall 2014 by Tia Chucha Press. He’s author of the joyful book The Vampire Who Drinks Gospel Music: The Stories of Sacred Flow & Sacred Song. www.blackmanofhappiness.com

Lynne Thompson won Perugia Press’s First Book Award for Beg No Pardon, which was also awarded Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including Sou’wester, Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review and the anthology New Poets of the American West. Her latest collection, Start With a Small Guitar, was published by What Books Press in October 2013. She is the reviews and essays editor for the literary journal Spillway.

Terry Wolverton is the author of ten books of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, most recently, Wounded World: lyric essays about our spiritual disquiet. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing studio in Los Angeles, and Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. She is currently collaborating with composer David Ornette Cherry to adapt her book Embers as an opera. www.terrywolverton.com

For more information, contact Terry Wolverton, 323-661-5954, wtrsatwork@aol.com.

15th Anniversary Spotlight — Yvonne M. Estrada

Each day for the 15 days leading up to the WAW Open House (October 7, 2012, 2-5 p.m.), we’re going to feature a current or former participant who’s completed a major project (book, film, album, academic credential). We’ll find out what they learned that helped them with their work.

Yvonne M. Estrada, Poets At Work, Women’s Poetry Project
Project: MY NAME ON TOP OF YOURS, poetry chapbook (Silverton Books, 2013)

I brought in a poem on the subject of graffiti.  During the critique it became clear to me that I had many more things to say about graffiti than could be contained in one poem.  It was suggested that maybe i needed to write a series.  Learning that I could intentionally approach a subject from so many different perspectives allowed for a creative freedom that inspired more much investigation and a lot more writing. A series 14 sonnets in which the last line of one poem becomes the first line of the next, is called a “crown of sonnets.” Each one has different viewpoint and each one able to stand alone. Good lesson.

Connect with Yvonne Estrada on Facebook.