April is National Poetry Month, and Fairfax County is celebrating in some style. ArtsFairfax has joined forces with Fairfax Poet Laureate Nicole Tong and her project Poetry Lives Here to put on a month-long homage to contemporary poetry.
Throughout April, over 20 members of the local community will step forward to share the words that most inspire them. Some participants are poets themselves and will read from their own work. Others will read the words of writers they admire. Together, this mix of professional poets and passionate amateurs will help the entire county enjoy the power of verse and the beauty of language.
Four Weeks of Literary Magic
Fairfax County has a full calendar for National Poetry Month with different performers reading almost every weekday. Whether you’re interested in local wordsmiths reciting their own work or poetry-lovers reading some of the most celebrated contemporary poets, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for among the diverse offerings.
- Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill reads “Crossing” by Jericho Brown.
- Poet Laureate of Virginia Louisa A. Igloria reads her poem “Creed for the Drowned.”
- Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University Rick Davis reads Dan Vera’s “Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam.”
- Author Roseanne A. Brown reads Cynthia Manick’s “There are No Unsacred Spaces.”
- Arts in Education Fellow Sarah Scalet reads Kay Ryan’s “The Best of It.”
- Dentist K. Lee Reads Kay Ryan’s “The Edges of Time.”
- Allen Lynch from the National Museum of the United States Army Reads Rober Longley’s “A Hero’s Welcome.”
- Educator Jessica Finley reads Crystal William’s “Night Bloom.”
- Cellist Andrew Savoia reads Eloisa Amezcua’s “Round 3.”
- Jamika L. Helem, a counselor at the Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center, reads Jasmine Mans’ “We Host These Variables.”
- Photographer and Educator Jessica Wallach reads Lauren Summers’ “This is About a Body.”
- KaNikki Jakarta, the City of Alexandria Poet Laureate, reads her poem “Posed and Poised.”
- Rita Feinstein, the current Writopia Lab D.C. Regional Manager, reads Mary Szybist’s “The Lushness of It.”
- Sushmita Mazumdar, who is VCA Commissioner, an artist, and an educator, reads Matthew Olzmann’s “Mountain Dew Commercial Disguised as a Love Poem.”
- Danielle Badra, a poet and a member of the Fairfax County Government staff, reads her poem “The Phillips Collection.”
- ArtsFairfax Digital Media and Outreach Manager Manuela Quintero Fehr reads Jaime Manrique’s “Mambo.”
- Woodlawn-Pope Leighey Fellow, NOVACC professor, and poet Jessica Rapisarda reads her poem “Maker.”
- Trini Rogando, the 2022 ArtsFairfax Scholarship winner and a Scholastic Writing Gold Key recipient, reads her poem “First Gen Poet as Percussion Rehearsal.”
- ArtsFairfax President & CEO Linda Sullivan reads Kim Roberts’ “Two Hands.”
- ArtsFairfax Board of Directors Chair Shelley Hazel reads Sarah Kay’s “Toothbrush to the Bicycle Tire.”
- Fairfax Poet Laureate Nicole Tong reads her poem “Theory for the Living.”
Follow Along and Celebrate the Power of Poetry
Spoken poetry is an interactive experience, and the listener plays just as large a role as the reader. As you enjoy the poetry on offer, be sure to follow along on social media and let Nicole Tong, Poetry Lives Here, and ArtsFairfax know what you think. The world of art becomes a whole lot richer when the audience gets involved.