Annual poetry series featured in local publications
The "Seat in the Shade" poetry series, now in its fifth year, was featured in both Athens newspapers in the days leading up to and during the readings.
Under the direction of College of Education professor Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, the event was chosen as a "calendar pick" in Flagpole and was also the subject of a feature story in the Athens Banner-Herald to preview the performance of poet Coleman Barks. The series is an annual event that is not only a community-based poetry reading, but also serves as a teaching component to a class. During the day, graduate students work on various forms of poetry in an effort to push the boundaries of what is writing. In the evening, Cahnmann-Taylor lines up renowned local and regional poets to speak, giving the students a chance to experience the work of professional poets.
"I hear from so many people that they don't like poetry or that it confuses them," said Cahnmann-Taylor. "When you listen to someone like Coleman Barks, you can't help but fall in love with poetry. This whole series is designed so anyone can stop being alienated by this 'high-falutin', sometimes esoteric, poetry."
This year's poetry series partners with the Big Read, a National Endowment for the Arts program that seeks to develop diverse, community-wide reading programs across the country. Cahnmann-Taylor was selected by the Big Read to bring a celebration of the work of Robinson Jeffers, an acclaimed American poet, to Athens through the recognition of notable local poets.