This is a past event.

Poetry Reading in Parma Heights

We’re a town of broad shoulders and short sentences. Still, if Cleveland had a post of Celebrity Poet, George Bilgere would fill the bill. The John Carroll professor and Cleveland Arts Prize winner has published five poetry collections over the years; in the process, he has become BFFs with former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, and quite the darling of the NPR set, too. In fact, not only have more than 30 of his poems been read aloud on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac radio program, but Bilgere himself was a special guest on the December 10, 2011 episode of Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. “It was like the greatest thrill of my life!” he says. “And almost as great, we went to Keillor’s sumptuous New York City apartment afterward for a cast party. People were standing around the piano singing…it was like something out of Noel Coward!” Bilgere is just back from a tour that took him to poetry hotspots in Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado, and Missouri. (Ain’t fame grand?) His next stop is his 7 p.m. appearance at the Parma Heights branch of the Cuyahoga County Library on Monday April 16. He’ll be reading from 2010’s The White Museum, as well as trying out some new works. It’s all part of the National Poetry Month celebration; and lest you are tempted to ask “so what?” Bilgere has this to say: “We’ve been bombarded this season by politician’s empty clichés and meaningless jargon. But as T.S. Elliot said, poets are the caretakers of the language. They preserve it. And now more than ever, we need to turn to our poets to remember our language’s clarity, beauty, and truth.” The April 16 reading is free and open to the public. Register online at the website.

— Elaine T. Cicora

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