Steamboat Reads getting under way

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— At 10 a.m. today, Steamboat Springs High School students will stop by five local businesses in an attempt to reveal the closet poets among us.
Springsips, City Cafe, the Sports Medicine Clinic at the Yampa Valley Medical Center, Steamboat Premiere Properties and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council were all given magnetic poetry kits and told to write a poem.
Their poems will be copied and hung on Poet-Trees at the Bud Werner Memorial Library and Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.
Every three or four days through the end of April five more businesses will be given the chance to reveal what they can do with words and their poems will hang next to the others on the Poet-Trees.
The activity is just the first in a month of activities for the second annual Steamboat Reads campaign orchestrated by the staff of five local libraries.
This time last year, Steamboat Reads asked residents to read the book "The Ancient One" by T.A. Barron. The book had an ecological and "sense of place" message, but the writing was geared to middle and high school age readers, Steamboat Springs High School Library Media Specialist Martha Oman said.
"It wasn't appealing to a broad audience," she said. "This year we want to broaden the campaign by using a theme instead of a single work.
"And we've had this poetry bee in our bonnet for a while."
Beyond the magnetic poetry kit project, Steamboat Reads invited community members to record poems for radio.
"We had people come all the way from Yampa to read a poem," Oman said. By the end of the recording session, the high school library alone had 120 poems on disc.
"Students who I didn't even know wrote came in with their poems," Oman said. The students of a high school biology class read Ogden Nash poems and the drama students read Shakespeare as a way of promoting their upcoming production of "Much Ado About Nothing."
"One boy wrote a poem the same day he recorded it," Oman said. "He was very worried about the war and wanted to express those feelings."
The poems will be aired throughout the month in short 30-second radio spots on KFMU.
The disc will be taken to the radio station after one more recording session of students at Soda Creek Elementary School today.
"People read and write for a lot of different reasons," Oman said. "And I know that not everyone is a poet.
"But we want to honor all different forms of creativity and recognize that for some, poetry is a closet love."
Every library in town will have a personal poetry project in addition to the scheduled Steamboat Reads events.
Steamboat Springs High School library will be hanging a clothesline around the room with tiny clothespins and students will be invited to hang their poems for all to read.
To get involved or for more information, call Alison Lambart at the Bud Werner Memorial Library, 879-0240.


To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210 or
e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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