Saturday, April 03, 2010

Prospero’s Books stages a 120-hour poetry marathon -

Prospero’s Books stages a 120-hour poetry marathon - "Prospero’s Books stages a 120-hour poetry marathon
By TIM ENGLE ~ The Kansas City Star

GARVEY SCOTT (photo credit)
“Sometimes for poetry to be noticed, it has to be noticed in a big way,” said Connie Dover, who helped launch a marathon reading."

Five straight days and nights of poetry reading sounds like a colossal undertaking, but it all started Friday morning with one little boy and an even littler poem.

“Day by day the ghosts go past,” recited almost-5-year-old Riley Werner-Leathem, hoisted up to the microphone by his dad, Prospero’s Books co-owner Will Leathem. Riley dressed up for the occasion, wearing a paisley tie over his Prospero’s T-shirt.
Minutes earlier it wasn’t ghosts but an ill-tempered thunderstorm that passed by. Former Kansas poet laureate Denise Low of Lawrence acknowledged it with her work “The Bear Emerges,” part of which goes:

In bed we hear the rumble,
distant, as we find again
under blankets and skins,
the deep-set thud of heartbeats.

All through the hard winter
we forgot about rain and lightning.
Prospero’s, 1800 W. 39th St., is spending all weekend and part of next week celebrating National Poetry Month — and trying to beat a record for longest poetry reading. The round-the-clock marathon will feature 200-plus regional and national poets, most reading in 20-minute chunks and most performing their own work.

It got under way at 10 a.m. Friday with about two dozen spectators and will wrap up at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The actual record-breaking moment, however, should occur around 7 p.m. Sunday — that’d be the 57-hour mark. Organizers are hoping to wallop a record set in Cincinnati in 1978, when a poetry marathon lasted 56 hours, 25 minutes.

If all goes well, the local effort will rack up 120 continuous hours of poetry, more than double what those disco-era dudes did.

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