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WIU Libraries Plans Events to Celebrate National Poetry Month

April 13, 2017

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MACOMB, IL - In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Western Illinois University Libraries will host two poetry-themed events in the month of April: a Blackout Poetry Workshop, from noon-1 p.m. Monday, April 17, and Poem In Your Pocket Day, all day Thursday, April 27.

The Blackout Poetry Workshop, in Malpass Library 180, will be led by assistant professors Barb Harroun and Rebekah Buchanan, of the WIU Department of English. Blackout poetry is a technique for creating poetry that takes an existing text – such as a page from a book, or a newspaper article– and obscures or "blacks out" certain words in order to highlight others. The remaining highlighted words create a new poem from the original text.

The workshop is open free to the public. Participants are welcome to bring friends, their children and their lunch. Attendees may also bring their own original texts (magazines, newspapers, books, etc.) or use those provided at the workshop.

Blackout poems completed at the workshop may also optionally be contributed to the Poem In Your Pocket Day event. Poem in Your Pocket Day is celebrated by choosing a poem and carrying it with you throughout the day, reading and sharing it with people you meet. In the past, University Libraries have supported this event by selecting poems from the libraries' collections and making copies available for people to take with them. For 2017, the Libraries would like to collect and distribute poems written by members of the WIU and Macomb communities.

Anyone living or working in Macomb or at WIU, of any age, is welcome to submit short, original poetic works to be printed and displayed in Malpass Library. For this project, "short" is defined as one printed page or less, to facilitate carrying the poem in an average-sized pocket.

To submit a poem to be included, download the necessary form at The submitted poems will be printed and placed in a display in Malpass Library Thursday, April 27 for anyone to take with them. Poems should be submitted by the end of the day Monday, April 24.

If the poem to be submitted contains formatting (images, spacing, fonts, etc.) that is not supported by the form above, the author can email the formatted poem to Outreach Librarian Christina Norton at Questions about the event, or submission guidelines, may also be directed to Norton.

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