Sterling Nature Center Celebrates National Poetry Month

Every chair was full recently at the Sterling Nature Center as a large group gathered for the center’s semi-annual poetry reading.

The afternoon included readings by featured poets as well as an open mic where members of the community could sign up to read.

A reader shares her works with the crowd
A reader shares her works with the crowd

Featured poets were Tim McCoy, Susan Peterson Gateley, Stephanie Ackerman, Devon Moore, Bob Early and Steve Smith.

“It’s a celebration of the arts and nature,” said Charlie Itzin, one of event organizers. “There’s a natural connection between a nature center and poetry.”

The poetry readings are a permanent part of Sterling Nature Center’s yearly events.

One is held in the fall and one in the spring that aligns with National Poetry Month.

“Usually in the fall we get one or two featured readers, but in the spring we get as many as possible,” said Itzin.

Poems read at the event covered topics ranging from love to loss, body image, the importance of grandparents, and even going to the fair. Each poet had 10 minutes to read samples of their work.

It was clear each poet made a connection with the audience as spectators could be seen nodding along with words, laughing, and even tearing up.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” said Cindy Porter who came with her husband, Lowell, to enjoy the show. “I had no idea the talent the young people had.”

“It’s very refreshing,” Lowell added.

“It’s a good time to be a poet,” said Itzin. “There’s more people writing, more publications, and you can access any poetic voice you want to hear out of cyberspace.”