Last year, with COVID-19 still limiting life, the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita had a decision to make. They could cancel the annual fundraiser or come up with something safer. In this case, a walking tour of tiny galleries of paintings and pottery. You could say it was little go or go home.
Organizers opted for the latter and saw the highest number of visitors – 681 – at the center in July as people browsed the Manzanita tour and then went to the center to buy raffle tickets. (Organizers note that guests were also drawn to some pretty impressive artwork inside the center.)
This year, with COVID considerations still weighing heavily, they decided to resume fundraising outdoors. Poetry Walk 2022 will feature 15 poems – odes and haiku – mounted, framed and displayed at the sites of community partners and commercial sponsors of the Hoffman Center along Laneda Avenue.
“We’ve had commercial sponsors over the years,” said Janice Slonecker Berman, chair of the center’s development committee. “We are grateful for their financial support and this is a way of acknowledging it. Some of our sponsors have even chosen to organize pop-up events. I almost imagine poets singing through the city.
The center invited nine local poets to submit up to three poems each. Visiting poets included those who had attended poetry workshops at the center or published in its publications and were regular visitors or part-time or full-time residents of the Manzanita area.
“We asked them to respond to one or more of three prompts: praising aspects of Manzanita (ode), odes to ordinary things, or holiday haikus,” said Vera Wildauer, senior program writer. writing from the center. She explained that they were shooting for 15 poems and developed a ranking system for submissions. “We are committed to having at least one poem by each poet. Once we categorized them, we changed a few to include a wide range of styles, subjects and shapes.
Maps will be available for visitors to find their way to each poem, and on July 9, seven of the poets featured on the poetic walk will be positioned by their poem to read, along with a few others not featured on the walk. Poets will be programmed so that listeners can wander from site to site and have the chance to hear all the poets. Readings are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Visitor Center and will continue every half hour for approximately 15 minutes per reading, ending in the Hoffman Center’s Wonder Garden.
Framed copies of the poems, mounted on 18-by-24-inch waterproof posters will be raffled off, with tickets worth $10 each.
The Poetic Walk also offers the opportunity to hear from Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani read about his work. Mojgani will be at the Wonder Garden at 1 p.m. on July 31. Reading is free, but registration is mandatory. A two-time National Poetry Slam individual champion and winner of the International Poetry Slam World Cup, Mojgani has authored five books of poetry and has done commissions for the Getty Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum, and his work has appeared on HBO, National Public Radio, and as part of the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series.