Thus, the proclamation was far from a high-sounding but empty document. Rather, it shows what can occur when a coalition of City Hall, merchants, a progressive arts group and an astonishing number of poets in one area come together to raise the cultural bar of an entire city.
Mayor Hibbard, when asked for his own take on the unfolding cultural events, had this to say: "We want cultural experiences as much as possible in Clearwater. It enriches all our lives. I have great appreciation of poetry because it's not something I'm good at."
Larry Jaffe, an internationally-recognized poet who lives in Clearwater and is the most visible face of Clearwater's emerging poetic persona, stated, "The poetry walk is about imbuing the downtown area with our art, our poetry, our words and spirit. It is all about taking our poetry to the street, a grassroots approach to creativity. This is our second year of putting on the walk. We are most appreciative of Mayor Hibbard and the entire Clearwater City Council for their enthusiastic support of our event and most importantly, of poetry and the arts."
T.S. Elliot, the poet, famously wrote that "April is the cruelest month." That's far from the case in Clearwater. Not only does the weather in April look favorably on residents and visitors alike, but the cultural climate is kind, indeed, to those who seek to promote the role of poetry in the life of a city.
For more information about the Cleveland Street Poetry Walk or Artists in Action International, visit their website at www.artistsinactionint.org .