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The original item was published from 4/1/2014 4:29:00 PM to 5/1/2014 12:05:00 AM.

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Posted on: April 1, 2014

[ARCHIVED] National Poetry Month @ Your Lewis & Clark Library!


National Poetry Month @ Your Lewis & Clark Library!

March 21, 2014 (Helena, MT)—April is National Poetry Month and Your Lewis & Clark Library is pleased to host several signature poetry events throughout the month in celebration of poetry and poets. Introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.
During April, you Lewis & Clark Library will host a Saturday Slam Poetry Workshop for Teens; an evening with Montana’s poet laureate, Tami Haaland; a Poetry Circle for writers interested in poetry; and the 8th Annual Poetry on Fire Poetry Slam for Teens.

Poetry is a complex genre that often scares readers and writers away with its simplistic complexity. Tami Haaland, Montana’s poet laureate, challenges that misconception and explains, “Poetry is no mystical calling. It doesn't need to be analytical, critical or scientific. It only needs to be expressive.” So many people dislike poetry because they think that they can’t understand it, but Haaland argues that “it's really a matter of giving poetry a longer chance, sticking with it.”
Teens in grades 6-12 are invited to attend a Saturday Slam Poetry Workshop on Saturday, April 5th from 2:30-4PM. “Saturday Slam is a way to Kick-off National Poetry Month in a slam poetry workshop setting,” explains Teen Services Librarian Heather Dickerson.

What is a Poetry Slam you may ask, a poetry slam is a competitive event in which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience. Scoring is based on based on the poets' content and performance. “The Saturday Slam is a great opportunity for interested teen poets to learn, hear, and watch some Slam poets in action and to start writing their own to prepare for Poetry on Fire at the end of the month,” explains Dickerson.

On Thursday, April 10th at 7PM Montana’s poet laureate, Tami Haaland will share her experiences as a writer, author, and student of poetry during “An Evening with Montana’s Poet Laureate Tami Haaland.” During the summer of 2013, Gov. Steve Bullock appointed Tami Haaland Montana's5th poet laureate at the nomination for the honor by Montana's first poet laureate, Sandra Alcosser.

Tami Haaland is the author of two books of poetry: Breath in Every Room, winner of the Nicholas Roerich Prize from Story Line Press, and When We Wake in the Night. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, and her work has been featured on The Writer's Almanac, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry.

Haaland received an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars as well as a BA and an MA in Literature from the University of Montana. Since 1994, Haaland has been a professor at Montana State University Billings where she teaches creative writing and literature. She has been active in the Billings community, teaching creative writing at Montana Women's Prison since 2008 and in 2012, she helped launch a writing project at McKinley Elementary School through the Arts Without Boundaries program. In 2011 she received an Artist Innovation Award from Montana Arts Council. For more information on Haaland’s visit, contact Adult Services Librarian, Suzanne Schwichtenberg at 447-1690 ext 130.

Interested in writing poetry? Join our Poetry Circle. This dynamic group of engaging poets meets twice a month at the Library to read and workshop their poetry. Whether you are an experienced poet or just testing the waters, join them on April 14th and 28th at 7PM. For more information contact Hester at

Young poets are invited to come and share their original poems and hear their peer’s work presented in a Poetry Slam setting at the 8th annual Poetry on Fire Slam Poetry event April 30th at 7PM. All registrants participate in the first round. Poems should be read with no use of props, costumes, or musical instruments. Prizes will be awarded!

Poets in grades 6-12 need to bring three original poems to present and register prior to event beginning. Registration begins at 6:30PM with the Slam beginning at 7PM. Everyone is welcome to come watch our local young poets as they share their original works at the 8th annual Poetry on Fire Student Poetry Slam.

For more information on the Saturday Slam or Poetry on Fire, contact Teen Services Librarian, Heather Dickerson at 447.1690 ext 132.

For more information on these events, visit and remember, There’s Always Something Going On @ Your Lewis & Clark Library!


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