Poets Know It And Share Their Talent

Posted: May 18, 2018 at 1 a.m.

Courtesy Photo Poets will wait at their typewriters, poised to create "poetry on demand" at today's White Street Walk.
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Courtesy Photo Poets will wait at their typewriters, poised to create "poetry on demand" at today's White Street Walk.

Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

FAQ

Poetry on Demand

WHEN — 4-7 p.m. today

WHERE — Between Oscar’s Cafe and Mary Tait’s design shop on White Street in Eureka Springs

COST — $3 donation per poem

INFO — 253-7444 or writerscolony.org

BONUS — Among the poets scheduled to be on hand are Joanie Roberts from Village on the Lakes Writers and Poets in Bella Vista; Cyndi Peterson from Mountain Home; poet and editor Mary Meriam; and writer and poet Kate Lucariello.

Poets paint words.

They're artists, too.

At least, that's the idea Linda Caldwell, director of the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow, pitched to White Street Walk organizers three years ago. She had learned about the trend of "poetry on demand," and she suggested local poets break out their typewriters and get busy.

It turned into an entertaining evening for everyone involved.

Like a cartoonist who might create a caricature, poets will wait poised for White Street walkers to approach. For $3, a "customer" will get an original poem, composed on the spot and based on information shared with the poet. "Or," Caldwell says, "you can ask for a poem about fairies. Or zombies. Or anything at all.

"We've had people brought to tears," she adds. "It really is wonderful."

The donations, which will go back to the Writers Colony, might total $100, she adds, laughing, but that's not the point.

"First, we want people to think of writing as an art -- because it is," she says. "Second, we're always trying to do community outreach, because a surprising number of people don't know we're here or what we do."

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020, the Writers Colony was born on the grounds of Dairy Hollow House, a country inn and restaurant operated from 1980 to 1998 by author and entrepreneur Crescent Dragonwagon and her husband, Ned Shank, who died in 2000. As a writers' residency retreat, the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow hosts as many as eight authors at a time for stays of one week up to three months. During that time, says Caldwell, "we take care of them, nurture them and protect their privacy so they can focus on their writing."

"We serve dinner five nights a week -- that's their time for networking and social time -- keep the kitchen stocked and let them work," Caldwell says. "I'm more or less a concierge if I need to be."

Over the years, she says, writers have come from as far away as England and Barbados, although most are American.

"This is just a fun way to remind people we're here."

-- Becca Martin-Brown

bmartin@nwadg.com

NAN What's Up on 05/18/2018