Tonight's event, the launch of the Write On, Springfield! anthology published by The Springfield Library and coordinated by Anna Brandenburg, the project coordinator and a librarian, was a success! Despite the simmering heat, the wasps dizzy with the aromas of sweets, and the temperamental microphone in the Quadrangle Tent behind the Central Library (220 State St., Springfield, MA), over 40 people showed up to listen to 22 poets and writers who signed up for the monthly Open Mic hosted by Crystal Senter Brown. What a tapestry of voices, perspectives, and experiences!
This time, I chose not to sign up to read. Instead, I wanted to sit back and to enjoy the readings; some were quiet, others were dramatic, a few were humorous, and only one or two were painfully long. The generational span - from teens to elders - had an unexpectedly powerful impact on me. This is what Springfield is all about: individuals of all ages and backgrounds actively building community through the power of their words and through naming - be it creatively or autobiographically - their complex experiences, in this case, in Springfield. Melody Rivera, Ron Coolbeth, Caren McKenzie, and Carol Marrone are only a few of the poets and writers who shared. Pick up a free anthology while supplies last!
Bittersweet, though, is the reality of Anna Brandenburg's departure as she "pulls up stakes", as one elder poet shared in his tribute, "to move to the Big Easy." Transitioning from one place to another will not be easy for Anna B., who quietly yet so thoroughly tends to a myriad of details at the Library and in her home life for her move, nor for us, the poets and writers, who could count on Anna B. to organize and to coordinate events that benefited - and will continue to benefit- our community.
Even as we lose an invaluable member of our Springfield community, let us celebrate Anna B.'s transition by continuing to participate and to support the Open Mic, the many workshops, as well as the numerous events that the Library and Springfield do have to offer.
If you are interested in writing poetry, I will be facilitating poetry writing workshops in the Community Room at the Central Library on Saturdays, 9:30 - 11:30, on August 22nd, September 5th, and September 19th. For more information, visit the Poetry Page @ www.springfieldlibrary.org.