Jan 14th, 2020

Poet-Tree in the Library

It’s a cold, dreary day at the tail-end of January,
When a spindly tree appears in the Library.
A bunch of dead branches? What could it be?

frosty mahonia leaf. Photo by Don WIliamson

What will inspire your next poem?

It’s yours, dear reader: it’s a Poet-Tree.

Those sticks look lonesome. What is there to do?
The solution, my friend, is quite up to you.
We’ll provide leaves, workshops, pens, and free time.

Your task is to add poems (they don’t have to rhyme).

Thanks to you, your neighbors, your family, and friends,
Here’s how the Poet-Tree’s story will end:
As winter gives way to a glorious spring,
The Poet-Tree transforms into a wondrous green thing.

Prose translation: In the deepest, darkest depths of winter, the skeleton of a tree appears in the Lora Robins Library: it’s a new Poet-Tree! We invite you to compose original poems on paper leaves and attach them to the Poet-Tree. With your help, it will grow and flourish as winter gives way to spring, culminating in April with a gleeful National Poetry Month celebration. Join us along the way for poetry workshops, open mic events, readings, and more!

Dozens of cyanotype prints and tanka poems by Heidi Reszies arranged on a white wall

“Blue-ing” by Heidi Reszies will be featured in the Library throughout Poet-Tree.

Join us on January 25, 2020, for Taking Root as we kick off the Poet-Tree with a day of youth and adult nature poetry workshops and readings in partnership with River City Poets. Adventurous souls may even find inspiration outside! Once you’ve got some poems under your belt, the next natural step is to share them with the world. Take part in Branching Out, our family-friendly open mic event on March 8, 2020.

Finally, celebrate poetry, nature, and movement! On April 26, 2020, explore, write, read, listen, and move with Poet-Tree: In Motion. As if you need another reason to roam the Garden, it’s the opening weekend of Wind, Waves and Light: Art in Motion by George Sherwood.

While you’re channeling your inner poet in the Library, be sure to check out Blue-ing, an exhibition of cyanotypes and tanka poems by local artist and poet Heidi Reszies. Over the course of a year and a half, Reszies assembled the manuscript of her first book, Illusory Borders, along with hundreds of cyanotype prints. She then stitched these prints together with tanka from her diary to create a patchwork effect. Join her for a Ginko as part of Poet-Tree: In Motion on April 26, 2020. Not to be confused with the tree, Ginko is also known as a haiku walk; you can think of it as a poem foraging expedition. Blue-ing will be on display in the Library from January 22 – April 29, 2020.


A silver orb sculpture from Wind, Waves and Light by George Sherwood

George Sherwood’s Wind, Waves and Light will bring unexpected movement into the Garden.

About Dory Klein

Dory Klein is the librarian at the Lora Robins Library at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. When not answering botanical reference questions, leading storytime, creating research guides, managing library programs and outreach, cataloging, and overhauling the library’s systems, she is probably biking, reading, hiking, or picking cherry tomatoes in her garden. She hopes that all of you will turn to the Robins Library as a place of discovery and inspiration.

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