Roses are red, violets are blue, April is National Poetry Month, but poems don’t need to rhyme… They just need to harness the musical notes and rhythms of language to inspire, amuse, entertain, or offer some kernel of observational or emotional truth. Since 1999, the Calling All Poets Series has presented monthly readings by local, national, and even international poets, first at the Howland Cultural Center and now at the Center for Creative Education in Beacon.
On the first Friday of the month (or the second, if the first falls on a holiday weekend), poets and those who love them can pay $5 ($4 for CAPS members) to hear two featured poets read for 30 minutes each. In recent months, a reading by a third wordsmith — streamed live over the Internet from countries as far away as Slovenia — has also been on the program, thanks to technologically adept poets and CAPS members Glenn Werner and Larry Sansone, Beacon’s first poet laureate. Lastly, anyone with a poem and some chutzpah can perform for up to five minutes during the open-mic session, while others partake of refreshments. “Some people rally and rant, for sure, but most do not,” says CAPS cofounder Mike Jurkovic. “Most poets are sensible and logical — voices against Trumpism, if you like.”
CAPS was founded 17 years ago by Jurkovic and fellow poets Jim Eve and Robert Milby. “We are the longest-running poetic institution between Manhattan and Albany,” Jurkovic says. Members and regulars include several Pushcart Prize nominees (and one winner), an Off-Broadway playwright, editors, publishers, and teachers. This month, CAPS publishes its second anthology of poetry. To showcase it, the organization is presenting additional readings throughout April at other locations in Beacon as well as in Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, and Newburgh.
Related: Q&A With Poet Robert Milby
“Poetry is always relevant. It’s society that pushes it aside,” Jurkovic says. “There is more poetry in people’s lives than most realize. They read scripture and holy works, which is poetry. Any reading is basically poetry. It’s always there. Life moves too fast, we get absorbed by other things, but it’s there.”
To find National Poetry Month events, and to listen to archived readings, visit the CAPS Web site at www.callingallpoets.net.