Items tagged with Poetry

A Tribute to Poet Mary Oliver

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The Westport Center for Senior Activities and The Westport Library are partnering to honor the life and and work of beloved and highly acclaimed poet Mary Oliver, one of our country's most widely read and celebrated contemporary poets. She has received numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as taught and held posts at various prestigious colleges and universities, over the lifetime of her long and accomplished literary career.

Her exquisitely crafted poetry, rooted in the beauty and mystery of the natural world, illuminates the interconnectedness of all living things, and in so doing, deeply touches her readers, many of whom do not consider themselves lovers of poetry.

This special evening will include insightful talks and inspired readings by local poets and teachers, featuring Professor Laurel Peterson, Poet Laureate of Norwalk.

Location:  Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Avenue

Westport Senior Center
Talks & Readings

WestportREADS 2018: Poetic Inspirations—Readings and Reflections

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Ward Shelley and Douglas Paulson, “The Last Library,” (Installation view), 2016, Paper, ink, wood, 72 x 26 x 2". Courtesy the Artists, Pierogi Gallery and Westport Arts Center

Join an evening of poetry and art set within Ward Shelley’s What Keeps Mankind Alive exhibit at the Westport Arts Center. Adults and high school poets are invited to submit their work for consideration by Sunday, January 21, via email, waac [at] westportct [dot] gov. More information on submissions...

Community partners: Westport Arts Center and Westport Arts Advisory Committee
Location: Westport Arts Center, 51 Riverside Avenue 

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

Pat Barker’s novel combines both fictional and real characters seeking to make sense of World War I and their changed world, centering on Siegfried Sassoon, noted poet and decorated war hero. Sassoon was among the prominent British poets whose response to WWI changed the landscape of modern poetry.

In honor of this legacy, this program invites modern poets to respond to our times and the challenges we all face. Poets interested in sharing their work, should submit poetry for consideration by Sunday, January 21 via email: waac [at] westportct [dot] gov. Participating poets will be notified by Friday, January 26 and will read their poem at the February 1 program, which is free and open to the public at the Westport Arts Center, 51 Riverside Avenue.

This evening of readings will accompany an introduction to Shelley’s exhibit, an ideal setting for this collaboration of spoken work and visual art. Like the poets, the artist, “seeks to tease out narratives from history and culture.” The exhibit includes The Last Library, (an ongoing collaboration between Shelley and artist Douglas Paulson), a room sized installation of bookcases and 3,000 books that according to the artists “should have been written, but haven’t.”

Ward Shelley’s What Keeps Mankind Alive will be on exhibit through March 2, 2018 at The Westport Arts Center, 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT.

The Westport Arts Advisory Committee is committed to increasing public awareness of the Town of Westport's cultural resources: its artists, artworks and institutions. The committee members are appointed by the First Selectman to serve a two-year term.


Film Screening of "Emily Dickinson: My Letter to the World"

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See Emily Dickinson: My Letter to the World, an in-depth examination of the life and work of one of America’s greatest female poets. Writer and Dickinson scholar Jerome Charyn will introduce the film (which is narrated by Cynthia Nixon) and afterward lead a Q&A with producer Sol Papadopoulos, who also produced the new feature film “A Quiet Passion” starring Cynthia Nixon as Dickinson. (2017; 80 m) The film premiered at the Morgan Library & Museum in May 2017. This screening is in conjunction with the Great Hall exhibit described below. Learn more about Emily Dickinson.


Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

Westport photographer/graphic artist and the Library's Artist-in-Residence Miggs Burroughs pairs his signature, "animated" lenticular imagery with the visual poetry of American Sign Language (ASL) to express a poem about compassion by Emily Dickinson. Entitled "Signs of Compassion," the exhibit features 30 Westporters signing segments of the short poem, written around 1864, that begins "If I can stop one heart from breaking." With the exception of Noah Steinman, who's a fluent signer and helped Burroughs pose each person's hands as closely as possible to the actual ASL signs, the people in the images are neither deaf nor fluent signers. Rather they volunteered to help Burroughs introduce this simple but powerful poem to both the hearing and hearing-impaired communities in a purely visual way.

Learn more about American Sign Language.

On display through August 31

Artist reception: Friday, May 26 from 6-7:30 pm in the Great Hall

Wednesday, June 14 at 6 pm: Artist-to-Artist TalkMiggs Burroughs discusses his work with Westport artist Katherine Ross. An opening reception for the artist will be held in The Great Hall on Friday, May 26, from 6-7:30 pm. And on Wednesday, June 14, from 6-7 pm, the Library will continue its Artist-to-Artist series in The Great Hall, with Burroughs changing seats this time from doing the interviewing to being interviewed by fellow Westport artist Katherine Ross.

Closing reception: Monday, August 21 from 6-8 pm

A lifelong resident of Westport and a full-time graphic artist since 1972, Burroughs has designed hundreds of logos, ads, brochures and now websites for commercial and nonprofit clients throughout Fairfield County. Among his most notable projects have been designing the Westport Town Flag, an Easter Egg for Reagan's White House (which is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution), a U.S. Postage Stamp, four covers for TIME Magazine and, more recently, Tunnel Vision on Main Street. As a member of the Silvermine Guild in New Canaan and of the Westport Arts Center, he has won much acclaim for his cutting-edge lenticular imagery and is one of only about a dozen artists in the country working in this medium.
A 1967 graduate of the Carnegie Tech drama department in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon University), Burroughs says that his short-lived career in theater "began and ended with an audition for The Graduate, when an actor of questionable talent, named Dustin Hoffman, got the part of Benjamin."

Dan Woog's O6889: "Miggs Burroughs’ Signs Of Compassion"

Migg's presentation at the CT State Capitol for Arts Day, speaking about the background and preparation of this exhibit

July 2016 Westport News article on Miggs

Dan Woog 06880 article on Miggs as Artist-in-Residence

Large Reading Room
Films, Exhibits
Art, Movies, Poetry

WestportREADS: A Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Irish Poet Paul Muldoon

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Muldoon (c) Oliver Morris.2010wr buttonPulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet and poetry editor for The New Yorker Paul Muldoon will be interviewed by Westport Country Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos as he discusses and reads from his new book of poems One Thousand Things Worth Knowing. Reserve tickets with the Westport Country Playhouse box office, 203.227.4177, for this free eventCommunity partner: Westport Country Playhouse.

one thousand thingsAbout One Thousand Things Worth Knowing: Smuggling diesel; Ben-Hur (the movie, yes, but also Lew Wallace’s original book, and Seosamh Mac Grianna’s Gaelic translation); a real trip to Havana; an imaginary trip to the Château d’If: Paul Muldoon’s newest collection of poems, his twelfth, is exceptionally wide-ranging in its subject matter—as we’ve come to expect from this master of self-reinvention. He can be somber or quick-witted—often within the same poem: The mournful refrain of “Cuthbert and the Otters” is “I cannot thole the thought of Seamus Heaney dead,” but that doesn’t stop Muldoon from quipping that the ancient Danes “are already dyeing everything beige / In anticipation, perhaps, of the carpet and mustard factories.”

If this masterful, multifarious collection does have a theme, it is watchfulness. “War is to wealth as performance is to appraisal,” he warns in “Recalculating.” And “Source is to leak as Ireland is to debt.” Heedful, hard-won, head-turning, heartfelt, these poems attempt to bring scrutiny to bear on everything, including scrutiny itself. One Thousand Things Worth Knowing confirms Nick Laird’s assessment, in The New York Review of Books, that Muldoon is “the most formally ambitious and technically innovative of modern poets,” an experimenter and craftsman who “writes poems like no one else.”

Paul Muldoon is the author of eleven previous books of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Moy Sand and Gravel (2002). He is the Howard G. B. Clark University Professor at Princeton.

Note location: Westport Country Playhouse

Author photo credit: Oliver Morris, 2010.

Westport Country Playhouse
WestportREADS, Authors

Poetry Salon Reading by Local Poet

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My Best Poetry

Michael C. Juliano will give a reading of his poetry from his book of poems, My Best Poetry, Volume I,  in a salon-like setting in the Library's Seminar Room. 

A native of Litchfield County, CT, born in 1971, he is a both a poet and a newspaper journalist. His interest in writing began at age 7, and he began writing poetry at age 13. That same year, the New Milford Times in Connecticut wrote a feature story on his poetry writing.

Michael JulianoHis poem "Morning" was published in 1990 in The Hobo Jungle, a publication from Woodbury, Connecticut, and a few of his other poems were published in 1994 in The Branch, a poetry journal released by the University of Connecticut’s Torrington branch. In 2004, he was featured in the Stamford Advocate for starting a poetry reading at Caffeine in South Norwalk. 

His journalism career began in 1998 after he earned an English degree from the University of Connecticut. Since then, he has written over 8,000 news stories as a journalist for several Hearst-owned daily and weekly newspapers throughout Fairfield County, including the Stamford Advocate and Connecticut Post. He is currently managing editor of the Fairfield Citizen and Westport News, two Hearst-owned award-winning, twice-weekly newspapers covering the towns of Fairfield and Westport.

Weeks Seminar Room
Talks & Readings

Poetry & Flowers

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flowersHonor the memory of Tess Meisel by decorating a planter with poetry and promises to recycle. 

The Great Hall

WestportREADS Poetry Contest Winners

February 2, 2012

PoetryWestport students are amazing, consistently showing incredible skills in a wide range of activities—sports, music, volunteer work and academics to name a few. So, when we opened up a poetry contest as part of our WestportREADS program, inviting students to write and submit poems on their own time, we weren’t surprised at the response. We got dozens of poems from children and teens ages 5-16 —  imaginative, funny, and somber.

The winners and their poems are listed below, judged by a team of professional readers and writers, staff members of the Library who understand the effort and talent required to compose a meaningful, thoughtful poem. The entries were judged in three categories: elementary, middle and high school. Because of the wider developmental differences among elementary-aged children, we divided this category into age-appropriate groups — 5-6, 7-8 and 9-11. So, there is one winner in each of these age groups, and three winners who placed either first, second, or third in the middle and high school categories.

We are so proud of all of the students who chose to participate in this event and encourage all of them to continue writing and reading poetry.


Elementary School


Ages 5-6


 Many Things in the Sky

by Sam Saperstein


Many things in the air, they fly everywhere.

Planes can fly very, very high.

Pilots fly -- so good, so good.

Birds fly across the sky.  In winter, they fly so high in a group.  Yay, yay, yay let’s scoop.

The snow falls.  We, we, we.  Look at those birds, they fly so high.

Helicopters fly like planes, they both have engines big, big very, very big.

Rocket ships fly right past the sky.  They go super high. Out the earth, bye!

People watch the television, to see what is going on.

They wait, they wait. So long, so long.

Almost a week. Why does it take so long?

Finally, they come in for a landing.  Yay yay yay.  Welcome home today.  Hurray!



Ages 7-8


ABCs in the Air

by Henry Chang







Fly  Glider

Helicopter  Ice

Jet  Kite  Lift-Off  Maneuver

Nieve  Owl  Propellers  Quetzalcoatlus












Ages 9-11



By Isabel Powell


The music of birds fill

My ears, pour out, and fly in.

         They are

         My breath

A flap, and a lap,


          I Levitate

              I Lift



As I repel myself over the turquoise water,

                    The clear blue skies

    I glance to the song,

It fills the world with color.

                                                                    Is that



Of                              Life


Drowns the world




        Is the structure





Middle School


First Place



By Grace McGinley


If I had wings, I would fly,

Straight up to the bright blue sky.

I’d release the pain from each day,

For in the sky I’d choose to stay.


I would do whatever I like,

Not having to fit in or be alike.

The day would go all my way,

For in the sky I’d choose to stay.


To escape words that sting like wire,

I would fly higher and higher.

Fly until I’m far away,

For in the sky I’d choose to stay.


I would forget about my worry and trouble,

Surrounded by my personal bubble.

I would pause and watch the sky turn grey,

For in the sky I’d choose to stay.


I would lie down on  a cloud of steam,

Directly underneath a bright sun beam.

I would sleep in the warm ray,

                    For in the sky I’d choose to stay.                    



Second Place


By Jodie Baris


Breathtaking blue,

Clean open air

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       To soar in the wind

                                                                                                     Like a bird


Stare longingly

                                                    At the pure and wispy


Yearning to be among them

If only for a



There’s too much


On the ground

The sky is

A desperate                                                                                               Escape


From a twisted


Maybe that’s all it’s meant to be,

                                                                                                                       A wish

                                                                                                                    A dream

Just out of reach





Third Place


The Dream Flight

By Polina Zhuravleva


The dream flight

Will make you to forget

The sadness, hurt, anxiety

And times when you wanted to vanish

From the painful world

That has nomercy or generosity.

When you fly you feel easy and calm

Embracing the soft touch of the clouds

That welcome you warmly

To the world of peace and freedom.

Is the flight that I’ve described

Only a dream?

Or is it my imagination?

I don’t know

But it is this most wonderful time

That allows me to move on.



High School


First Place


Where the Sun Waits

Katie Carlson


The voice of the sun

is heard by the earth

and all those who listen.

I long to drift up

into the sky

where the clouds part

and the sun gleams down,

flaunting its beauty

for all those who watch.

I long to float up

along the shining rays

and be welcomed,

enveloped in the sun,

always waiting

for any who wish to come.

That precious longing

to be embraced by the sky,

will never leave,

nor ever be achieved,

yet the hope

carries me on.



Second Place


Wings to the Mind

By Rusty Schindler


and left all disbelief on the ground behind

not looking back, her dreams took off

her mind’s pursuits too big to fall

think of the one visionary who never returned

so when you peer into the sky

become a sign that reads one dreamed here

a trail of stars their only emission

pushing out of orbit, shooting further into space

that dreams are not confined to the atmosphere

inspire the people to believe

but fertilize the sky as they drop

of words that flow like endless rain

flying higher toward a rhetoric oasis
pilot’s instruments a pen and paper

fuel the writer’s hand, head, and heart

billowing, puffy pillows of past botherations
                     clouds not obstacles but metaphors

     no end in sight, no ground below

once the wheels begin to turn, air force imagine can take off

runway unfolding like a blank page

opportunity taking hold as the mind’s motor is engaged

sky a limitless expanse of possibility

soaring beyond the sun

glancing at mountains’ peaks from an eagle’s eye

poetry provides wings to the mind   



Third Place


By Ritozeh Saingbe


Help! Can you help me?

I need somewhere to go, somewhere to escape to

Somewhere to find a home, is it the sky? Or the clouds?

I think it's the sky

Among the soft stretchiness, I'll find refuge and a fortress.

Someone to help me when I don't have anywhere to go.


What is the sky one might ask?

It is what fills the void between the heavens and the Earth.

One might also inquire, why do I need the sky?

I would say, it gives you a home, somewhere to spread your wings and fly, just fly away.

A place to express who you are, what you are, what you'll be.

The clouds will catch you when your friends won't.

Give you a home when you've been abandoned.


A launching pad when no one wants to give you a base to live out ALL your ideas.

It's just simply an essence to help you fulfill your dreams.

When no one is there for you, just think about the clouds and quietly escape.

Be who you want to be without any limits.

Don't worry the clouds are safe, they'll be a place to fly, sweetly fly, away....


After you've been abandoned, you seek for refuge;

The sky is the place for you

When you are falling, falling, falling, and you have nothing to catch you,

Look out for the clouds

And if no one's there for you; then you fly solo,

Though the skies will always be there for you,


Sometimes they let you down, just like your friends do sometimes, flight is often dangerous;

It takes focus just like decisions need focus too.

But beware; the sky will not always be there for you,

Sometimes you have to fight for yourself;

And even though the clouds might not always be there for you, they'll always back you up

Help you to be a stronger person, catch you when you fall

They'll be the place for you to fly, sweetly fly away…


Then as the swift winds blow the clouds into shape,

You too will become as a distinguished object.

Allow the clouds to take over and when they do;

I promise you will like what you see.

Just remember, when you get up there,

Fly, sweetly fly, away…

WestportREADS Poetry Contest Info and Video

December 5, 2011

poetry contestAs part of the Library’s annual WestportREADS program, all Westport students (K-12) are invited to submit an original poem for the Flight of Imagination Writing Contest, now through January 13, 2012. The theme this year is Amelia Earhart, so poems should have something to do with the idea of flight. What does flight mean to you? An escape? Something a bird does? A trip from JFK to San Francisco? A tactical unit in the Air Force? A run on the beach? A staircase? Let your imagination fly!

Prizes will be offered for winners in three categories—elementary, middle and high school; and winning poems will be published on the Library website. Winners will be announced January 27.

To help with ideas for a poem, and to learn more about Amelia Earhart, here are some recommended books for different age groups:

I WAS AMELIA EARHART by Jane Mendelsohn.In a novel based on a real-life mystery, Amelia Earhart describes what happens after she and her navigator disappear off the coast of New Guinea in 1937, and contemplates her love of flying, memories of her past, and her life with G.P. Putnam. Adult and Grades 10-12

FLYGIRL by Sherri Smith. During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl passes for white in order to join the Women Air Force Service Pilots, a civilian group that performed jobs like crop dusting so that male pilots could "go to war." A dynamic tale of courage and adventure. Grades 6-10

AMELIA EARHART: THIS BROAD OCEAN by Sarah Stewart Taylor & Ben Towle.  One chapter in Earhart's life is told in this graphic biography by a young girl who shares the plucky personality of the aviator. The town of Trespassy, Newfoundland, is awaiting Earhart's takeoff for her 1928 flight to Ireland. Gossip feeds the fame of Earhart as her young friend gets to interview her. Graphic novel. Grade 6 and up

AMELIA LOST: THE LIFE AND DISAPPEARANCE OF AMELIA EARHART by Candace Fleming. Straightforward biographical chapters alternate with a chilling account of Earhart's final flight. While not denigrating Earhart's accomplishments, Fleming does separate the history from the hype. Grades 4-8

NIGHT FLIGHT: AMELIA EARHART CROSSES THE ATLANTIC by Robert Burleigh. Poetic and beautifully illustrated account of Earhart's 1928 solo flight from Newfoundland to Ireland. Grades 1-4

AMELIA AND ELEANOR GO FOR A RIDE by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Brian Selznick. Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt were friends in real life. In 1933, when Earhart was a guest at the White House for dinner, she took the First Lady on a flight over the nation's capital.Ages 4-8

Submission Guidelines for poems: By January 13, please email your poem to jlewis [at] westportlibrary [dot] org or knash [at] westportlibrary [dot] org and include the following: name, age, address, phone number, and email address.

Entrants cannot be related to staff members of the Westport Public Library.Only one entry per person.
Word count: haiku up through 150 words.

Winning Entries

Barnes and Noble gift cards will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each age category. Winning entries will be published on the Westport Library website. Winners will be notified by phone.

Contact Jaina Lewis at 203.291.4809, jlewis [at] westportlibrary [dot] org, or Kris Nash at 203.291.4813, knash [at] westportlibrary [dot] org, with any questions.



Poet's Voice: Katha Pollitt

April 3, 2011
Katha Pollitt

Katha Pollitt, American feminist poet, essayist, and critic, writer of the award-winning column, “Subject to Debate,” for The Nation magazine and author of two books of poetry, read from and discussed her poetry on Sunday, April 3, 2011.

Poet’s Voice is supported by the Horace E. Manacher Poetry Fund.

You may need: Adobe Flash Player.

Katha Pollitt 4-3-11.mp3

Poetry for All Seasons and Reasons

March 25, 2011
See video

The Westport Public Library has a top-notch poetry collection highlighted by an extensive selection of modern American and world poetry. For research, presentations, and pleasure.