April is National Poetry Month, and Central Oregon Community College is celebrating with many festivities this year!
Across the Redmond, Madras, Prineville and Bend campuses are an array of events happening to hone in on the poetry writing process, with the modalities of writing workshops, film and speech to honor the written word.
All events hosted are free and open to the public, offered both virtually and in-person.
The theme this year is “connection,” focusing on the aspects of community and togetherness that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last few years. This will be the first poetry month since 2019 that in-person events are taking place.
Librarian Cat Finney is the mastermind behind the annual Poetry Month Celebration at COCC, along with the librarians and an array of humanities faculty members. These folks have been working hard behind the scenes to make this year’s celebration inviting, accessible, and exciting for all attendees.
Finney has been planning Poetry Month events since 2016, and is an avid poetry lover herself, with a B.A. in English and a Masters degree in Library and Information Science.
She has said that the poetry events scheduled for the month are “completely inclusive”, with the aim to bring people together for fun and joy.
“I have always been really interested in poetry… [and] it’s been my mission, all these years, to let people know poetry is their voice.”
Finney shared that previous Poetry Month speaker and honorary Oregon poet laureate Anis Mojgani has arranged a hotline during the month, for a poem a day recitation. Currently each day in April the hotline has a different poet reciting a work to each caller that dials.
Call the poetry hotline this month at 503-928-7008.
Eileen Sather, a humanities professor here at COCC who has been involved in the Poetry Month planning for the last five years, also shared a rundown on the events this month.
“Come one come all”, Sather stated, regarding the inclusivity of all workshops and readings.
Sather herself is an avid reader and writer, who values “the ability to create worlds and characters” through words. Sather holds a Masters degree in creative writing, and hosted the April 12th poetry writing workshop that was in Barber Library on the Bend campus. She emphasized that “no experience levels are necessary” for attendees, highlighting that this month is about sharing literature and connecting with kin, versus prestige and exclusivity based on prior knowledge and experience.
Poetry Month officially kicks off with the April 5th poetry writing workshop in Prineville, and has its grand finale on April 26, with the film screening of “HOWL” happening in Hitchcock auditorium on the Bend campus.
There will be a continuous thread of poetry writing workshops held by different COCC educators happening on April 12th, April 13th and April 19th, leading to the readings from guest speaker and renowned poet, author and educator Guadalupe Garcia McCall.
McCall is an honorary poet and writer who will be coming to the Bend and Redmond campuses to read her poetry on the 22nd of the month. McCall’s reading will be available via livestream on the Madras and Prineville campuses as well.
McCall is a well-known novelist who writes primarily young adult fiction, with an air of mysticism and a thematic undertone of stories with the coming of age narrative. McCall’s works speak to the experiences of life within the Latinx community, while also expanding to a diverse array of readers of whom can relate and identify with the characters and topics in her writings.
She has published many novels, poems and short stories, such as her well known novel “Under the Mesquite,” which tells the story of Lupita on her journey through family strife, love, and transformation, through the flow of free verse.
Come join in on the Poetry Month events happening across COCC campuses this month. All are welcome.