The Town of Carrboro and other community organizations are taking initiatives to make scheduled poetry events virtual and encourage writing and reading poems at home.
“Poem in Your Pocket Day,” which is on Thursday, April 30 this year, has traditionally been a when day people are encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket to share with others.
This year, the town is encouraging people to share their poems on social media with the hashtag #pocketpoem.
Town of Carrboro Council Member, Damon Seils, said he is a lover of poetry.
“We have a lot of local writers and poets in our community, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and through Orange County,” Seils said.
Carrboro also has its own Poet Laureate, Fred Joiner.
The North Carolina Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green, is also a native of Orange County.
“Poetry is really accessible, you can find it anywhere," Seils said. "You can find ways to read it and other people read it out loud.”
Every town council meeting begins with a poem by the Carrboro Poet Laureate or their designee.
“We’re all looking for new ways to connect with each other right now,” Seils said. “Poetry has always been a good way for people to find ways to connect and having that opportunity now is even more important.”
Seils said he suggests taking this time at home to learn more about local poets.
Dana Hughes is recreation supervisor of Carrboro Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Resources, which had several events organized to celebrate poetry before the stay-at-home order was issued.
“We are currently working with all of our programs trying to figure out things to do virtually for people to do at home,” Hughes said.
One virtual event in the works is through the Carrboro Poets Council on May 3 as part of its Carrboro Day 2020 Contest. Community members can submit original creations that they feel represent Carrboro, such as essays, poems, songs and other arts.
Hughes said this will be the 12th year of the "Poetry On Your Plate" event, an interactive discussion with three poets. They are currently in the process of making this annual event online.
“I recommend taking the opportunity to write a poem,” Hughes said. “Use the time you may not have on a normal busy day when you're working or in school, and use that time to write and reflect.”
Hughes said Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources encourages everybody to write a poem expressing themselves and their feelings — whether it's anger or fear during this time. They also encourage writing about what's going on in the world around us and how it's changing.
“I think practicing poetry now is a good opportunity,” Hughes said. “Take an unfortunate situation, put it down on paper, and years later we’ll reflect and there will be a good outcome.”