The ‘Poetry Project,’ an Island Valentine

Susan Yager and Bob Berkowitz were among the Island couples reading in the first ‘All You Need is Love’ Poetry Project at the library.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Susan Yager and Bob Berkowitz were among the Island couples reading in the first ‘All You Need is Love’ Poetry Project at the library.

The popular “Poetry Project at the Library” will celebrate Valentine’s Day on Sunday, February 13 at 3 p.m. with a program of poetry readings entitled “All You Need is (more) Love.” Admission is free.

February 13 also marks the start of year three for the Poetry Project series created by Shelter Island’s Bliss Morehead in 2009, who curated the first two years of the project. To celebrate this milestone, the library has announced that the program will encore most of the poetry from the initial readings-in-performance held in February 2009, along with new poems centered on love, loss and carpe diem. Some of the original Island readers will return for the celebration.

Thinking back on the beginnings of the Poetry Project, Bliss recently wrote, “I really have to thank [Library Board President] Jo-Ann Robotti and [Library Director] Denise DiPaolo for being so supportive of this project when it was just a gleam in my eye. I enormously admire poetry as being one of the liveliest and most challenging of the arts, and it seemed to me that, for a cultivated and well-read Island, we did not do enough to send wonderful poetry out into our own community on a regular basis for our shared pleasure and gratification.”

“I had a long wish-list of themes for readings that I would curate if I were ever to get the opportunity to present them,” she added. “The library was enthusiastic and happy to provide the space and the logistics. Later, the Historical Society became involved and we did several poetry readings there as well. The Poetry Project has thrived, and I am gratified that it now has its own following of listeners and readers. I look forward to listening to it under new stewardship — I’m sure it will be a delightful encore for all of us.”

“The Poetry Project has made poetry lovers out of avid poetry fans and fledgling poetry readers,” Ms. DiPaolo noted. “The project is a quintessential library program celebrating art, literature and local talent.”

While Bliss is on sabbatical, Art Barnett will take over as caretaker-curator for the project’s third year, starting with the Valentine’s Day readings. A frequent reader in past programs, Art also started the Poetry Roundtable at the library with Karla Friedlich in January 2010. The Roundtable is an informal gathering of those interested in poetry that continues to meet every Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Come celebrate Valentine’s Day a day early on Sunday, February 13. The library encourages you to “bring along someone you love, or just your love of poetry, and toast the grand passion in the company of the poets.”