Enjoying the poetry of the Vermont countryside in spring

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It's here! Indeed it is here — let us acknowledge spring's arrival. Yellow coltsfoot have begun blooming along the roadways, the peepers have cleared their throats and unfurled their song sheets, the bears are leaving muddy footprints along the edge of my yard where it abuts the forest. Spring! Warmer weather and delightful scenery that beg us to get out and explore the gorgeous landscape we live in. Thus I'm going to segue right now into how to easily do such exploration, because guess what else occurs in April? National Poetry Month.

I find it a perfect month for such matters since creativity and growth is bursting on out right now what with all the flowers and song and animals. And us! Are we not happily standing on albeit our cold, but virtually snow-free yards in our tee shirts and shades looking upon everything with a rather poetically slanted state of mind? Carving out our every thought regarding the lawn and the sunshine into something pleasing and fine (if for no other reason then that it helps us ignore the mangled piles of who knows what off in the grassy corners, forgotten about since autumn.).

Poetry is everywhere; spilling over our swollen streams this time of year and flowing in to our towns. Lots of events have already taken place here in Manchester and in the surrounding areas, and there is still time for more poetry activities before month's end. Head to Poultney sometime soon and you will find it there. Here's why ...

Driving out to the Lakes Region during spring should be a rite of passage for all Vermonters, no matter your literary bent. The drive from Manchester through Dorset and Pawlet, on the brink of Rupert, is scrumptious. The shorn sheep speckling the hills will make you shake your head to determine if it is a dream, or if you are truly seeing this kind of breathtaking beauty on a Saturday. Mettowee Valley with its shimmering farm country spreads out in all directions. But I digress. We need to keep on traveling down Route 30 to where it intersects with Vermont 140; where poetry and outdoor air and spring all mix together to form a lovely concoction.

For the second year in a row, the town of Poultney is holding a poetry walk during the month of April. It is sponsored by the town's local non-profit art center "Stone Valley Arts" and modeled after Montpelier's "Poem City." Stone Valley Arts goal is to "integrate the arts into the fabric of the community, as well as to enrich the quality of life in the region". The center works hard to offer enriching events involving such themes as photography, literature, art and music. The poetry walk is a welcomed addition to their calendar of events.

In March the event solicits poets to send in poetry submissions. Then, in April, the selected poems are printed out and displayed in business front windows along Poultney's Main Street.

The free, self-guided event entitled "Poetry Downtown," runs until the first week in May. The public is invited to stroll along Main Street reading the posted poems at leisure, perhaps pausing to enter some of the vibrant shops that line the street.

It is open ended and therefore can take up as much or as little of your time as you have to spare. So there is no excuse to miss it! It should also be noted that the event is open to all forms of poetry, all ages of poets. If you have words floating in your head that like to meet on paper, bookmark this article and remember to send your work in next year.

I'm telling you, it is quite a therapeutic experience to saunter along a charming main street reading poems, sipping a coffee, and contemplating whether my next stop should be to Poultney Pizza for a slice or to Hermit Hill Books for a new read.

Get Outside contributor Tina Weikert lives in Bondville.

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