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Tuesday, March 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Poet Laureate Mark Anderson, Spokane Arts launch Poetry at the Podium

Spokane Poet Laureate Mark Anderson shares a poem called “How To Ride a Bike” during The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club’s My Town Poetry Night with Tod Marshall, April 11. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Poet Laureate Mark Anderson shares a poem called “How To Ride a Bike” during The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club’s My Town Poetry Night with Tod Marshall, April 11. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

It’s not unusual to hear poetry in bookstores, coffee shops and even bars, but thanks to an initiative from Spokane Poet Laureate Mark Anderson and Spokane Arts, local poets will now have their voices heard at city council meetings too.

Poetry at the Podium will give more than 30 poets a year the chance to read a poem at council meetings during the time set aside for “Words of Inspiration,” which immediately follows the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each meeting.

Anderson will read for the first Poetry at the Podium on Jan. 7.

“This opportunity will both offer Spokane poets a new audience within the Spokane community, and remind council meeting attendees that poetry can play an important part in the civic realm,” Spokane Arts wrote in the call for submissions.

The guidelines are pretty simple.

All poets living within Spokane city boundaries are welcome to submit a poem.

As per city council meeting rules for public decorum, poets should remember that the selected poem may take no longer than three minutes to read.

Poets should state only their name and their neighborhood before reading and are asked to not use profanity, engage in obscene speech or make personal comments or verbal insults about any individual.

Spokane Arts will not censor any of the submitted poems, but the organization wants to remind poets that, because council meetings are broadcast on television, the content of their poems comes under the FCC’s rules regarding obscene, indecent and profane content.

Council meetings are held every Monday at 6 p.m. Interested poets can submit a poem at https://spokanearts.submittable.com/submit/130439/poetry-at-the-podium-open-call.

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