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National Poetry Month

Alan Flurry

Athens Poet Laureate – and lecturer in the department of English – Jeff Fallis leads celebrations of National Poetry Month on campus, in the community, and on the phone.

Fallis, a University of Georgia Franklin College instructor, is in the second year of his two-year term as Athens Poet Laureate, a position funded by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission. Through his office and events planned throughout April, Fallis hopes to provide recognition for poetry in the Athens community.

“I think the occasion of National Poetry Month has been a good way to … make a big push for public awareness,” Fallis said.

Through the Poems by Mail initiative, Athens residents can fill out a Google Form to receive an original, handwritten poem from Fallis or to send one to a friend or family member.

Fallis also coordinates the Dial-A-Poem initiative, where anyone can call the phone number 762-400-POEM, select a number on the keypad, and hear Fallis read one of his poems aloud.

Tatiana Veneruso, the public art coordinator for Athens-Clarke County, has worked to organize many of the Poetry Month events. She finds Dial-A-Poem to be valuable to listeners because they hear the poetry in the poet’s own voice.

“You could do it from anywhere and get to experience him reading it, which is of course, a different experience than just reading a poem on your own,” Veneruso said.

Dial-A-Poem is a wonderful and innovative example of public art, making poetry accessible in a conventional form, albeit in a new and interesting way. Kudos to the poet laureate! Celebrate National Poetry Month in April and Dial a poem!

See more events listed at the link.

Image: Jeff Fallis, Athens’ first official poet laureate. (Courtesy/Jason Thrasher)

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