The Poets’ Corner@Tunnicliff’s attracted a crowd of poetry lovers on May 1 who braved the wet weather to hear readings both by well-known local poets and by newcomers who participated in an open-mic session. The event, held in conjunction with the Literary Hill BookFest, was hosted by Jona Colson, whose first poetry collection, “Said Through Glass,” won the 2018 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House (WWPH). His work has appeared in numerous publications and he is also the poetry editor of WWPH’s anthology, “This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry and Fiction from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.”
In addition to the readings, Colson used the gathering to create a crowd-sourced poem. “Inspired by the community poems at many Split This Rock readings, I wanted to generate an on-site poem during Poets’ Corner,” he explains. “It was an amazing crowd; even though it was pouring rain most of the time, the energy was palpable. I think the energy and creativity of the day is reflected in this poem.”
Kindness at Poets’ Corner:
A Crowd Poem Created at
Poets’ Corner@Tunnicliff’s, 5/1/22
The first line is from the poem, “Kindness,”
by Naomi Shihab Nye (adapted by Jona Colson)
Before you know what kindness really is,
You must know the air
And consider everything the air has moved through.
Consider the escaped air of the gasp
At an unexpected gift.
Before you know meanness, consider
The galaxy, the black hole, the metaverse,
Then read a poem.
Newton’s gravity should plummet from one line,
And a red apple should shatter beneath your shoe.
Consider your inside self, relishing in
Momentary hope of dance and the end of dance.
Do you hear me? Is this thing on? And on.
The boats against the current as the rain
And clouds clear up slowly as we lean
Into words in the shadow of the Capitol.
The words of poets make the pandemic fade
And let us not face into shades of fear, but reach
Like those green tendrils in the light
Like those giants that reach, defying gravity
And beasts to show what joy looks like.
Know cruelty because cruelty knows everyone.
Walk a mile in the rain to attend a poetry reading.
Be missed and remember love and how it will surround you
And the obsession of kindness.
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