Charleston, SC’s first poet laureate, Marcus Amaker, and the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs have announced the schedule of Free Verse: Charleston’s first poetry festival.
The festival’s calendar of events includes several highlights: a youth poetry slam at The Gaillard Center (presented by The Charleston Gaillard Education Initiative) on Sept. 29, a poetry and jazz night at Dock Street Theatre on October 4 (with Grammy-nominated drummer Quentin E. Baxter), a Poets Laureate show at City Gallery featuring Ed Madden (poet laureate of Columbia, SC) and Marjory Wentworth (poet laureate of South Carolina) on October 6 and a Halloween show at PURE Theatre on October 31.
Poetry will be spread out in the city at venues like 492, REDUX Art Center, PURE Theatre, Fabulon, The Schoolhouse, City Gallery at Waterfront Park, The Gaillard Center, Dock Street Theatre, Marion Square, Local 616 and Ackerman Park.
Free Verse is much more than a series of poetry events. The festival will also feature poets in local schools. Workshops will take place at John L. Dart library and the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. The festival will also treat poetry as public art, putting elementary students’ poems on sidewalks, napkins, t-shirts and more. Expect to see poetry in Avondale and the upper peninsula.
Additionally, local poets will be writing poems on a typewriter at the Charleston and West Ashley farmers markets.
The mission is of Free Verse is to uplift the community by providing eclectic poetry events and workshops at multiple venues in Downtown and West Ashley. Amaker will collaborate with the Charleston County School District to put poets in schools and promote the power of the written word.
“Much like the O Miami festival (http://www.omiami.org), I want to put poetry in as many places as possible during Free Verse,” Amaker says. “I think it’s important for our youth to see the value in poetry. Only then can we start to dispel the myth of writing being the art form of the starving artist.”
To find out more about Free Verse, visit http://www.freeversefestival.com.