So my project over the last two weeks was to help with a surprise party.
The woman who leads the library poetry workshop, Mary Jane Dickerson, a retired University of Vermont English professor, has been doing this free class for ten years. AND she has just published a book of her own poetry, Tapping the Center of Things. We wanted to pay her tribute and honor the occasion.
No one knows or remembers who had the idea, but a group of us all took on roles and it all got done without an official committee. Amazing! And it was a surprise, too.
The event was piggy-backed on a community poetry reading. I still have no idea who arranged that part. The poet laureate of Vermont was invited and Mary Jane was also invited to read from her book. Eight other area poets also agreed to read.
I sent out an e-mail to a list that the librarian gave me of workshop attendees (present and past) and some key community members. Beyond that it was an old-fashioned social network—word of mouth.
In my e-mail, I also asked people who had taken the workshop to send me poems so that we could assemble a book of poetry that Mary Jane had nurtured over the years. Three of us got together and assembled the collected poems in a binder, each poem encased in a page protector. There were about 28 poems. I illustrated it with pictures that evoked something from a number of the different poems. This was the cover page:
There was rhubarb punch, a cake, and other sweet and savory snacks;
And then my battery gave out, but it was a very nice celebration pulled off in our small town—a fitting tribute to a sweet and respected pillar of the community.