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Friday, 17 April 2009 00:00

Clearwater Poetry Day Proclamation Featured

Written by  David Ziff
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Mayor Hibbard Presenting Poetry Day Proclamation to Larry Jaffe, Shelley Jaffe, and Stazja McFadyen . Photo by David Ziff.


Clearwater, FL (April 15, 2009) - Once again April has brought us National Poetry Month and once again, for the second year in a row, the city of Clearwater has seized the cultural initiative in the person of Mayor Frank V. Hibbard, issuing a proclamation declaring Saturday, April 18, 2009, to be Clearwater Poetry Day.

The proclamation was read by the mayor in a City Council meeting on Thursday, April 16th, and presented to representatives of Artists in Action, International, a local gung-ho group for the arts who put on a downtown Poetry Walk two days later and, simultaneously, saw to the publication of the Little Book of Cleveland Street Poetry, Volume II, featuring the works of 50 Clearwater poets, each writing on the theme of downtown Clearwater and life in Florida.

The mayor's proclamation also paid tribute to another key player in this initiative: the downtown merchants and businesses which hosted poetry readings during Saturday's poetry walk as well as sponsoring the publication of the Little Book of Cleveland Street Poetry, Volume II.

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 .
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