100,000 poets for changeWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems like you can’t go on a social networking site lately without noticing a posting for “100,000 Poets for Change.” The global arts-based phenomenon, which is set for Sept. 24, is the brainchild of famed poet and publisher Michael Rothenberg.
What is “100,000 Poets for Change” and what separates it from countless other events? On paper, this show isn’t all that different from your average poetry reading or open mic at the local coffee shop. What really makes it different is, unlike so many other events, people seem to be listening and really coming together.
“100,000 Poets for Change” is a wonderful thing, but the true test of its success can’t be measured until after Sept. 24. Poetry is great vehicle for social change and community transformation, but in the end the goal is to be able to really see others, to see, that we are not only our differences but also our similarities. We are all human beings, no matter what our walks of life.
All too often, life resembles an open mic — we’re all just waiting for our turn to speak, not really listening to anything anyone else has to say. If you attend this event, do me a favor; just think about how it feels at that moment not to be alone. I don’t care if you don’t like poetry or music — OK, maybe I care a little — but it was never about that anyway. The theme of the show here is transforming Toledo and we’re not going to do that simply by caring about music or poetry, but by caring about ourselves and those around us. Rothenberg may be on to something, because “100,000 Poets for Change” seems like a good place to start.
Toledo’s own contribution to the creative effort will take place Sept. 24 from 7-10 p.m. at the Studio Theatre in the Center for Performing Arts at the University of Toledo.
The event will feature a number of notable poets and singer/songwriters, such as Trina Stolec, Rhadsody, Jane Butler, Joel Lipman, Lorraine Cipriano, Michael Hackney, Madhu Kavia, Alfred Frank, Kerry Trautman, Adrian Lime, Sophia Lime, Matt Sradeja, Andrew Field, Michael Grover, Kayla Williams, Arnie Koester, Michael Kocinski, Melvin Douglas Johnson, Leonard Kress, Jonie McIntire, Cindy Bosley Smith, Craig Firsdon, Jackie Koch, Rachel Richardson, Gregory Peters, Imani Lateef, Douglas Lutman, Shannon Smith and Emma Smith.
Admission to the event and parking are free. This will be the first event in the renovated Studio Theatre, the space generously donated by the University of Toledo’s Department of Theatre and Film.
Immediately following Sept. 24, all documentation on the 100TPC.org website will be preserved by Stanford University in California, which has recognized “100,000 Poets for Change” as a historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. The university will archive the complete contents of the website as part of its digital-archiving program.
For more information, call (419) 476-0959 or visit www.100TPC.org.
Until next time … keep your pencil sharp.
John Dorsey resides in Toledo’s Old West End. His work is widely published and has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize.