Poetry Thrives in the Park

Poets participating in Irving’s first Poetry in the Park met in Irving’s Centennial Park on Saturday, April 28, in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Organized and presented by the South Irving Public Library, the group of approximately 20 attendees included library workers, impassioned poets from the Dallas Poetry Slam, and other poetry lovers.

The poems presented ranged in focus from the earth and environment to poems reflecting individual moods of tension and depression in today’s society.

Representatives of the Dallas Poetry Slam presented both individual and group poems with strong feelings reflected in both.

Sherrie Zantea (professionally known as Candy) is the executive director of the Dallas Poetry Slam, which has been in existence since 1994. Zantea presented several emotional poems, followed by a letter to her younger self, which she stated was a common method used by poets today.

“The ability to prepare and recite poems provides therapy and opportunity for kids and adults to release their feelings,” Javon Rustin, web developer for the Dallas Poetry Slam, said. Rustin’s poems included topics of family and sports ability incorrectly-assumed based on race.

The Dallas Poetry Slam members are ‘teaching artists’ and are available to teach children and adults the skill to create poems, allowing them to release and document their inner feelings.

Once all of the planned poems had been presented, the audience was asked if anyone wanted to present their own poems.

Nineteen-year old Pamala Lovely presented her emotional poem titled, “Red,” which ended with the line, ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’ Pamala wrote the poem several years ago in high school and was surprised at the reading by the attendance of her Godparents.

Also in attendance was Fatima Hirsi with her Smith-Corona typewriter. Hirsi was prepared to type a poem on any topic presented to her on the spot. Several of the attendees took her up on the opportunity. Hirsi has also provided this service at events at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas.

“I am pleased at the turnout for this first Poetry in the Park event,” Hirsi said. “People could be at other places on such a beautiful day but instead took time out to join us here.”

Milen Yassin, an employee at the Irving Library, applied for and obtained an internal library grant to pursue the Poetry in the Park idea and contacted the Dallas Poetry Slam organization to assist with the event.

“I like to bring my children to cultural events, even if they are a bit young,” Edith Teemant, a French visitor to Centennial Park with her three young children in tow, said. “I believe the city should keep doing these events and as word of mouth grows, so will this event.”

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