Bradford's Poem Town Successfully Revamped

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BRADFORD-- While many events across the country were canceled due to COVID-19, Bradford Public Library successfully continued their annual event, Poem Town, despite social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

Poem Town, now in its’ third year being run, was started by Kathy Davidow and her husband, Bud Haas, with the support of the Bradford Public Library staff. This is one event, like many others across the country, that occurs in April in honor of National Poetry Month.

 

“The idea to do Poem Town came from Poem City, which has been an annual event in Montpelier and some other cities. I believe there is an official Poem City program, but we did this as a local program,” says Kathy Davidow, co-creator and assistant at the Bradford Public Library. 

 

For Poem Town, community members are encouraged to send poems that they had written and wanted to share with the public.

 

“We invite people to participate in the event through our monthly newsletter, personal requests, and posters in the library and around town. We have a monthly poetry circle and we asked participants to spread the word to other poetry groups,” says Davidow.

 

The event saw a slight facelift this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop people from participating and sharing their poems. Typically, the poems would be hung all across town for people to read. 

 

“In years past, we were lucky to have every business on Main Street allow us to hang poems inside their windows. This included all the restaurants, the hardware store, insurance office, dentist, tattooist, the security firm, Tai Kwan Do, studio, Co-working space, and the convenience store,” Davidow explained. 

 

This year, the poems had to be shared online instead. Deciding to post the poems online, as opposed to canceling or postponing the event was determined by Davidow, Haas, and the library staff. 

 

“It seemed like the natural thing to do given the situation,” Davidow said.

 

“We are hoping to hang the poems when businesses can reopen. We haven't planned a celebration but we will consider something closer to the time,” she explained. 

 

For the last two years, there was a final Poem Town event that was held, featuring the Vermont Poet Laureate. 

 

Poem Town still turned out to be a successful event. Fortunately, the library asked for submissions before the pandemic was in full effect in Vermont, so they didn’t see a decline in submissions. 

 

“This year we had 33 participants, many of them were local high school students. Most poets submitted more than one poem for a total of 55 poems,” says Davidow. Thanks to encouragement in the classroom by local English teacher Matthew Madden, many student poems get submitted for Poem Town. 

 

The library has plenty of other events and resources for people to utilize during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Davidow. “Librarian Gail Trede is also doing a virtual story hour on Fridays and requesting that parents send pictures of their children’s' art inspired by the story hour. Last month we had a Zoom Poetry Circle and we will be doing that again on the first Wednesday in May from 4 PM to 5. Everyone is invited they just need to email me at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .” 

 

To read any of the poems submitted for Bradford’s Third Annual Poem Town, please visit their website or Facebook page.

 

For more information on the library’s offerings, you can check out their website as well. 

 

“The library is an integral part of the town and we have worked to keep our patrons informed about options for books and activities that they can do during these times. We have open wifi that is available in front of the library and we have encouraged community members to take advantage of that.”