Local writers have recently won a place in an upcoming poetic walk alongside Emily Dickinson and other famous poets, a walk designed to simultaneously celebrate nature and literature.
The Clinton-Macomb Public Library (CMPL) recently partnered with the Tomlinson Arboretum to provide a Poetic Arboretum Walk. It will be available from May 21 to September 25. Twenty-six poems will be displayed in the arboretum.
“It’s not linear, wherever you visit the arboretum you can come across poems,” said Meghan Mott, CMPL’s adult outreach manager.
In addition to poetry from established writers, the library has sought to include the work of local writers through a poetry contest. Six winners in categories ranging from child to adult had the opportunity to exhibit their poetry on the march.
Mott said this is the third year the library and arboretum have partnered to organize the walk. Tomlinson arboretum committee secretary Dan Lepo said Mott approached the arboretum committee to discuss the possibility of a joint effort for the walk, after reading an article about a similar program on East cost.
“As a former high school English teacher, I was drawn to the idea of displaying classic and contemporary poetry in the arboretum to encourage more people to consider poetry as a legitimate medium. The committee of the arboretum created a subcommittee to work with the library to explore the concept,” Lepo said.
The CMPL consists of three branches, with the main library being located at 40900 Romeo Plank in Clinton Township. The Tomlinson Arboretum consists of approximately 24 acres of land and is also located in Clinton Township. Lepo said the east entrance to the Arboretum on Romeo Plank is directly across from the Main Library. The Poetic Walk is just one of the joint efforts of the Tomlinson Library and Arboretum.
In the poetry contest, six winning poems were selected by a committee made up of a librarian, an arboretum committee member and a published poet, Mott said.
“This year, the library offered a poetry-writing contest, with the six winning works selected by a judging panel comprised of both library staff and arboretum committee members,” Lepo said. “It was decided that the winners would be recognized at an awards ceremony, where they would read their winning entries, receive a certificate of achievement, a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card and laminated copies of their entries. winning entries displayed in the (Clinton Township) booths in the Historic Village and Arboretum, and included in 26 laminated poems on display in the Arboretum.
On May 22 at 3 p.m., the community, contest participants, and their families are invited to the CMPL Main Library for a poetry reading. Mott said the reading will include any poetry submitted to the contest, not just the winning poems. At the end of the event, participants will head to Tomlinson Arboretum to take the Poetic Walk.
“Laminated poems are attached to a plywood panel, which is then attached to a post attached to a bench. A map of the location of each poem, and a list of poems is placed in one of the two information boxes at the east and west entrances to the Arboretum, on Romeo Plank Road, opposite the library, and at the 18 Mile Road cul-de-sac east of Garfield Road, respectively,” Lepo said. “There is a bike/walking path through the 10 acre East Arboretum, and additional benches are spread throughout the 15 acre West Arboretum.”
The winning entries from the poetry contest will also be displayed in both booths, as not everyone has the time or the physical ability to walk the three-quarter mile for the Poetry Walk. Lepo added that the winning works of the poetry contest are in the historic Clinton Township, located on the Civic Center property east of the Main Library and off Romeo Plank Road.