A collaborative and creative air filled the Benton Center as locals gathered to share poems, laughter and their collective love of the spoken word at “A Warm Red Autumn” event on Friday Nov. 4th.
“Lots is in the works!” said LBCC Poet Laureate Christopher Nicholson.
First up was the former Poet Laureate Dari Lawrie, who read some of her own work, along with a gripping confession about her dog. From the second she spoke the crowd was hooked.
Next, Robin Havenick introduced Jane White and Michael Quiner. Quiner walked up with his first Robert Frost book; the binding was even held together by scotch tape. A few students wandered in from time to time, becoming as entranced as the rest of us, the mood friendly and collaborative. Recently retired advisor Mark Weiss made his way to the mic, asking for help from his fellow poets. Jokingly, he said he would send an email to conduct a vote, because he couldn’t decide on a name for his poem.
Following Weiss, LBCC student Alyssa Campbell read three poems promising, “the last one is a happy poem!” Each poem followed by an applause and a smile from her mother who was here from California. Poet Danny Simmons, who just recently published a book took the stage, illustrating what happens to people during the chilly season of autumn.
Then an interabang struck when Linda Smith handed out a paper copy of her poem to the audience.
“Half the words that would rhyme couldn’t be in this poem,” said Smith.
The audience giggled.
At the very last minute was a reading by LBCC instructor Robin Havenick. Havenick’s chosen poems lead the audience from political irony to the nature-inspired works of Mary Oliver.
Nicholson, who committed his poems to memory, captivated the audience once more. He spoke about autumn being inspiring and how it is about a natural cycling of death and rebirth, in a poetic sense. He finished with explaining his focus of the year, “Listen.”
More poetry readings will continue this year, including the Diversity Day reading and the Life in Art project. These events provide a creative platform for poets to share their works and inspirations, and serve as a short getaway for the audience while the poets whisk them away with their words.
By: Kendall LaVaque