Utah's Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal on enjoying poetry from home
May 13, 2020 10:47AM
By Katy Whittingham
By Katy Whittingham | [email protected]
Like many events, the second annual Utah Poetry Festival, scheduled for April 18 on the University of Utah campus was cancelled. But Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal has suggestions for celebrating poetry from home.
Joel Long and City Arts are hosting video poems by Utah poets on their Facebook pages, and there are many other poets uploading videos of themselves reading on Twitter. As for podcasts, Rekdal said, “Please check out ‘The Slowdown’ for a brief moment of poetry, hosted by former US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, or go to the Poetry Foundation, which has regular poetry discussions online and on their own podcasts.”
Rekdal recognizes that, “it’s a tough time for artists now,” so poetry enthusiasts should check out who has a new book out and Rosebud Ben Oni has put together a comprehensive list on the Kenyon Review site.
“It’s a great way to support writers and poets and see how vibrant the poetry publishing world still is,” Rekdal said. The list titled, “Open to All: A Crowd Sourced List of Over 300 Mid-2019 to 2020 Poetry Titles,” can be found at kenyonreview.org. One of the many standouts is the recently released St. Julien Press title, “Still-Life With God,” by Virginia-based poet and teacher Cynthia Atkins. Atkins admits that it’s a strange time to have a collection come out and rely so much on social media to connect to readers, but she remains hopeful about our connection through poetry nonetheless. “When we are tested to the brink, I’m hoping our best humanity shows through,” she said.
Another easy accessible resource is “Poets in Pajamas” a free, online reading series run through Facebook Live that connects readers and writers across the world. Readings take place twice per month on Sundays at 7 p.m. ET and can be found on their Facebook page. Massachusetts-based poet Tzynya Pinchback, featured in episode 62, discusses her celebration through writing about everyday happenings like “sun on my face” and “a good cup of coffee” since her battle with cancer, which is inspiring in these times when no big events are taking place.
The Utah Poet Laureate represents communities, schools and libraries and is a governor appointed advocate for poetry, literature and the arts in the state. The position was established in 1997. Rekdal, an award-winning writer, has held the position since 2017 and teaches at the University of Utah, where she is the creator and editor of the community web project, “Mapping Salt Lake City.” To read more about Rekdal visit paisleyrekdal.com.
The Utah State Poetry Society, “an organization dedicated to the creation and appreciation of poetry” and founded in 1950, also has links for events, contests, publications, resources and more at utahpoets.com