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Norfolk/Wrentham - Local Town Pages

A Night of Poetry at the Old Fiske Museum

Sep 28, 2020 12:01PM ● By Brendan Zimmerman

On the cusp of fall, with the temperature dropping and the leaves beginning to turn, the sounds of poetry could be heard reverberating from the lawn of the Old Fiske Museum in Wrentham. 

I was attending a live poetry reading, which was hosted by the Wrentham Cultural Council. The event was held on Friday, September 11, and marked the first community poetry night since the pandemic began.  

Sitting in my lawn chair, I felt at home with my fellow poetry lovers, all local residents with stories to tell through the rhythmic words they love. With LED lights strewn across a fence nearby, the atmosphere felt warm – the perfect setting for a poetry reading.  

We were all gathered in a semicircle, socially distanced, with a podium and microphone placed at the front. Between each reading, the microphone was cleaned to ensure proper sanitation for each speaker.  

As the night went on, several of the attendees participated in the readings. Each speaker brought something different to be read, whether it was an original self-written poem, or a few of their favorite published works by notable poets. Most brought a mix of both. 

Evelyn Zepf, the chair of the Wrentham Cultural Council, explained the event series’ popularity with the community.  

“There aren’t a lot of places for unpublished poets to read their work, and there aren’t a lot of social gatherings focused on poetry. It’s local, free, and very enjoyable.”  

She also spoke of the importance such readings can have for these attendees. 

“For writers, it’s gratifying to have an audience for the poetry you’ve labored over. Poetry is meant to be shared and read aloud.”  

There were some themes that emerged in several of the readings that ranged from topical to eternal, including love, loss, the burden of the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and memories. 

With every poem, there was passion on the face of each reader, as their chosen works reflected feelings they had been wrestling with, or fond tributes to loved ones (including beloved pets). 

The works of famous poets were read, including Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, and Mary Oliver, but it was especially exciting to hear the original works of each speaker in various forms like haikus, sonnets, and free verse. These were the works of lifelong lovers of poetry, or those that started writing recently; the entirety of the event was filled with such heartfelt contributions.  

As of now, there is no definite date for another poetry night. Though the event used to occur quarterly during pre-pandemic times, the Wrentham Cultural Council is hoping to bring it back again soon, along with more events that are usually planned for the fall and winter. It all depends on the pandemic and what is possible moving forward. 

Hopefully, there will be another chance soon for residents to get together and share their love of poetry. 

Zepf spoke about the importance of poetry in our difficult times. 

“Right now, with all of our societal problems, divisions, and disease, it’s easy to lose sight of joy, personal pleasures, relationships, and the beauty of the natural world--all of the things that still exist and are important to us as human beings. Poetry can bring the important things back to light in really satisfying ways.”