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National Poetry Month Comes to Columbus Public Library

April 16, 2014


Celebrity Readers, Round Robin “Poetry Slam” Event Featured During Celebration

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”
  ― Emily Dickinson

National Poetry Month will be celebrated in style at the Columbus Public Library next week as the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries and the Georgia Poetry Society join forces for two spectacular public events.

On Wednesday April 23rd local civic, media and business leaders will share their favorite poems with the public in “An Evening of Favorite Poems.” Thursday April 24th will see a no-holds-barred poetry round robin with four Georgia Poetry Society members humorously duking it out (in a linguistic and occasionally poetic fashion) with poems on different themes and topics.

Each event will be held at 7:00pm in the Auditorium of the Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road. Admission is free and open to the public.

National Poetry Month was created by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to help widen the attention of both individuals and the media to America’s long and complex poetic heritage. Information about National Poetry Month can be found at www.poets.org.

An Evening of Favorite Poems

Wednesday April 23, 7:00pm
Columbus Public Library Auditorium

The Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference is pleased to sponsor this evening event featuring Columbus-area civic, media and business leaders sharing their favorite poems.

The Readers for the Evening include:

Judge John Allen: John Allen is a recently retired Judge of the Superior Court for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, former State Court Judge, a decorated Vietnam fighter pilot, and a native of Columbus.

Favorite Poem:  “Life Every Voice and Sing”   by James Weldon Johnson

Dr. Frank Brown: This retired Columbus State University president says: “I offer proof that there is life after degrees in business management and administration and long service as an administrator, coming as I did, late, to appreciate poetry in most of its forms!” Dr. Brown and his wife, Jo Ann, came to Columbus in 1981. 

Favorite Poem:  “Smart” from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Mr. Tim Chitwood:  Tim Chitwood grew up in Seale, Alabama, where he had nothing much to do except roam the backroads on a bicycle, hike along the creeks, or sit in the woods and read. So he did. He read Stephen King, Frank Herbert, and Ray Bradberry, whose literary allusions led to his reading poets such as Lord Byron and Walt Whitman. As a high school freshman, he decided he wanted to write for a living, and because he was not at that time a successful author or poet, he had to become a newspaper reporter. He graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in May 1982. In the three decades since, he has served as an editor, photographer, feature writer, and columnist. Today he specializes in covering homicides, from the most brutal to the unintended. So his having read Stephen King growing up doesn’t hurt.

Favorite Poem:  “We’ll Go No More A-Roving” by George Gordon, Lord Byron

The Reverend Dr.  Buddy Cooper: Born and raised in Peach County, Ga., he has served the United Methodist Church forty years in South Georgia and is currently District Superintendent of the Columbus District.  He has written six books and has studied and visited every New Testament site.

Favorite Poem:  “To My Father” by Georgia Harkness

Ms. Barbara Gauthier:  Barbara is the Main Anchor at WTVM News Leader 9, anchoring 5,6 & 11 o’clock news.  She is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in television news. Born and raised in Harris County GA, she came back home to Columbus 5 years ago. She is married to Robbie Gauthier and they have two children, one in college and one about to enter high school in the fall.

Favorite Poem:  “Touch by an Angel” by Maya Angelou

Dr. Ed Helton:  Currently serves as Executive Director of the Leadership Institute and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Columbus State University.  He attributes his love of reading and poetry to the inspiration of Mrs. Sylvia Russell at Russell County High School, Hurtsboro, Alabama.

Favorite Poem(s):  “Come on In, The Senility’s Fine” and “The Outcome of Mr. MacLeod’s Gratitude” by Ogden Nash

Judge Stephen Hyles:   Stephen Hyles is a graduate of the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia School of Law. He served two terms as an at-large city councilor and was elected Judge of Municipal Court in 2008. In 2010 he was appointed as United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

Favorite Poem:  “The Truly Great” by Stephen Spender

Mr. W. Ken Johnston: He has done Museum Theatre and Historic Character Interpretation work for Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian’s National Archives, National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of American History, English Heritage-UK, and the Atlanta History Center. He is a member of Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and has appeared on National Geographic Channel, History Channel, Food Network, PBS, and Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. He has performed Shakespeare, jousted, and toured with a rock band in North America/Europe. He is currently the Executive Director and Director of Programs and Education at the National Civil War Naval Museum, telling the stories of sailors, soldiers, slaves and civilians in relation to the Navies of the Civil War. He is a graduate of LaGrange College.

Favorite Poem: “To a Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church” by Robert Burns

Senator Josh McKoon: Josh McKoon is 1997 graduate of Brookstone School, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Furman University and a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.  He has practiced law in Columbus since 2004 and was elected to the State Senate in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. He was appointed Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the youngest Chairman of that committee in Senate history. Josh has served on numerous boards and has been recognized as the Georgia Young Republican Man of the Year, the Young Republican National Federation Man of the Year, as a Rising Star by the Daily Report and a 40 Under 40 Honoree by Maverick PAC.

Favorite Poem:  “If” by Rudyard Kipling

Mr. Dick McMichael: Dick McMichael, a TV and radio broadcast journalist for more than fifty years, worked at WRBL radio and TV, WTVM, and WDAK Radio in Columbus, among others. He is a Columbus native, a graduate of Jordon Vocational High School in 1948 and Columbus College in 1985.  He is the author of a memoir, The Newsman, and is a veteran of the United States Army, where he served as drum major of the 30th Army Band in Munich, Germany in 1955. He has one son, four stepsons, and five grandchildren.

Favorite Poem(s): “Pretty Good” by Charles Osgood, “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer

Mr. Paul Pierce: Mr. Pierce is the Producing Artistic Director of the Springer Opera House, a position he has held for more than two decades. In addition to being a veteran stage director, he is also a playwright, actor and musician. Paul is the former associate artistic director of the Repertory Theatre of America, the former artistic director of the Harbor Playhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the former managing director of the Wayside Theatre in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in drama and theatre from the University of Georgia. He is the author of the Springer Ghost Book.

Favorite Poem:  “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot

Dr. Carol Rutland:   Former Director CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center and GPB’s Star Watch, Dr. Rutland currently serves on Columbus Water Works Board of Commissioners, Columbus Regional Health Care Board of Directors, Muscogee County Educational Excellence Foundation and Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, Flint Stakeholders.

Favorite Poem:  “Halley’s Comet”  by Stanley Kunitz



Thursday April 24, 7:00pm
Columbus Public Library Auditorium

An evening of hilarious linguistic hijinks is sure to ensue as we present our second annual Ten Rounds No-Holds-Barred Poetry Round Robin. The contest is simple – ten themes or topics are provided (in advance) to the participants, and they must arrive with ten new poems to share. Participating this year are:

Keith Badowski: Keith Badowski holds a Masters in English Lit from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. His love for poetry emerged at SUNY New Paltz where he got his BA in English. He is known to his friends and fellow poets as “the bearded poet,” having written poetry while donning facial hair for 20 some odd years. Some of the poetry has been published in Oxalis, Monkey, Rambunctious Review, and Reach of Song. He currently serves as a minister at Epworth United Methodist Church in Phenix City, AL. In 2009, he began a stint as President of the Georgia Poetry Society and co-founded Brick Road Poetry Press (with Ron Self). His recent collection of spontaneous poetry is entitled, My Wife Warned Me And I Did It Anyway. He dearly loves his wife, Christina.

Melissa Dickson: Ms. Dickson is based in Newnan, GA and holds an MFA in studio arts from the School of Visual Arts and an MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College. She hails from Ozarks, AL and Auburn, AL. Her published collections include Cameo (2011) and  Sweet Aegis (2013). Be sure to read an interview with Ms. Dickson at http://www.times-herald.com/closeup/20130721melissa-jackson.

Jonathan S. E. Perkins: Mr. Perkins is a playwright, spoken word comedian and poet whose works Words, Blues for Mama,  and Stimulus have been produced locally by The Liberty Theatre. He has competed in and won at the national level in several poetry slams. He is a native of Columbus, GA and an alumnus of Georgia Southern University.

Ron Self: Ron Self was born in Columbus, GA and raised in Hurtsboro, AL. He is a United States Army veteran, an attorney/musician, and teaches in the Turner College of Business at Columbus State University. He is a past president of the Georgia Poetry Society and regularly hosts poetry open mic readings in Columbus and Phenix City, Alabama. He and his wife, Sharon, have two grown sons and four grandchildren. He still wants to be a cowboy or an archeologist when he grows up.

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