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People, Places and Poetry

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  • Current: People, Places and Poetry

During my time as Indiana's Poet Laureate I enjoyed spending time getting to know Hoosier poets from all over the state. Something I know has meant a lot to all of our state's laureates. I was extra fortunate, however, because I had the unique experience of hosting the Third National Gathering of State Poets Laureate in Indiana during my term. This experience has reverberated continuously in my  life and it keeps enriching my poetry.

Not only was I able to get to know Laureates from other states but I was pleased to welcome two international poets as our invited guests. Kae Morri of Japan and Flor Aguilera from Mexico brought a wonderful international flavor to our event. They and our US Laureates wrote sports poems for a set of poetry trading cards as well as joined with Hoosier poets and youth in recording a CD of sports poetry.

The young people involved had participated in sports poetry clinics before the Gathering attendees arrived. Local poets had led them in different sporting activities at multiple locations and helped them capture those activities in poetry. Hoosiers love sports and these youth clinics included baseball with the Indianapolis Indians, cycling at the Major Taylor Velodrome, swimming at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, as well as soccer, basketball and more throughout the state. It was a great way to show our guests the incredible array of sporting activities in our state and to highlight our capital city as the amateur sports capital of the country.

It has been an added bonus for me that our international visitors have become my lifelong friend and writing partners. Kai and Flor joined me, Virginia Poet Laureate Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda and two other international poets in using the Japanese poetry form of Kasen Renku to write a book called Seasons of Sharing A Kasen Renku Collaboration. Flor, Carolyn and I have a new collaborative chapbook that will be published next year titled Catena Poetica An International Collaboration, featuring a new poetic form. Both of these books help the reader see the world from several unique viewpoints. These fruits of our writing collaborations remind me what a wonderful medium poetry is for connecting places and people.

Written by Joyce Brinkman, Indiana's first Poet Laureate from 2002 to 2008.

Learn more about her work here.