By Rachel Tang
Entirely East Lansing Staff Writer
“In honor of national poetry month, we will gather as a group and attack the trees in front of the East Lansing Public Library,” said Carolyn White, poetry attack organizer and East Lansing resident. The event was on Saturday, April 5th from 1-3p.m.
White said, “we have asked local poets of all walks, we have children, elderly people, and also very famous poets that live here to submit poems.” These poems are not for publication and there is no selection process, “we chose everybody,” she said. At least one out of each person’s two submitted poems will be put up.
“We asked them to be short so they could be hung up on a tree and people could read them,” White said. White also said that they have over 60 poems and on Saturday, musicians will be playing music and Sunny Wilkinson, who is a nationally known jazz vocalist and East lansing resident has “chosen two of the poems and she’s going to do an ad-lib singing of the poem.”
Last year when White and her friends tried to organize a poetry attack, “I was terrified that the city would take things down,” she said. Instead, the city liked the poems so much that “the city of East Lansing invited us to attack them this year,” White said.
“So we are sanctioned by the city and they all know about it,” she said.
The poems are laminated. However, last year they had holes and water sneaked through the holes. “Every single one of those 60 poems fell, the wind came, the rain came,” White said.
According to East Lansing Public Library policy, “with prior approval, the library will allow ribbons and/or art on trees or displayed on library grounds, that promote health awareness or literacy and that are not political or commercial in nature.”
Jennifer Amormino, executive assistant to the director of the East Lansing Public Library, said that “only the library board can grant the use of trees for exhibit.” She also said, “we’ve done a lot with Carolyn White in the past” and since this month is national poetry month, “it just made sense and we also want it to benefit the community.
Guillermo Delgado, who is a community artist and poetry attack participant said, “I had a poem and submitted it, and they’re putting it up.” He also said, “I am a preacher of the arts but i feel that poetry gets a bad rep. I feel that folks think that poetry is exclusive, or they don’t understand enough about poetry to get into it.
“I hope that it gets more people interested in poetry and it becomes a situation where the public can participate and engage with poetry in a very public way,” Delgado said.