Favorite Poem Night is returning to First Christian Christian Church this Thursday evening thanks to collaboration between its creator Barbara Schulz, now of Kansas City, and SpoFest founder James Bryant.
“Those who already attend SpoFest events know that you hear ‘original’ works from local poets and writers,” Bryant said by email. “It will be a nice change of pace to hear works from well-known authors like Whitman and Frost. This event will be a great opportunity for SpoFest to further its reach with the spoken word here in Central Missouri.”
He added that SpoFest was “proud” to bring the event back as part of its annual Valentine’s Day program.
Dr. Douglas Kiburz, a SpoFest poet and former Favorite Poem Night reader, presented the idea to the SpoFest board to bring back the event to First Christian.
Schulz said by phone Saturday she is honored and “flattered” people remember Favorite Poem Night. She said her health isn’t good but she hopes to attend the event and also read her favorite poem, “Abou Ben Adhem” by Leigh Hunt. She reminisced about Favorite Poem Night, saying it was good for the community.
“The concept of Favorite Poem Night is not mine,” she said. “It’s a national concept, I guess, I don’t know who it was started by. I don’t know how I came about starting it in Sedalia, but it turned out to be just a really good thing.
“I felt like it was something that we could give to the community as a gift,” she added. “An evening that is just unique, away from the television, with people reading poetry that they liked, which let people know those readers at a more personal level. Because poetry, I think, expresses our real feelings.”
Favorite Poem Night was hosted for 10 years and Schulz added that it was very “satisfying” for her and others as well. Schulz said she has been gone from Sedalia for five years.
During the first hour of Thursday’s event, readers will present poems dealing with love and relationships by their favorite authors. Bryant said during the second hour SpoFest readers will present original works along the same topic.
Schulz noted that she believes poetry takes on many forms and when she hosted Favorite Poem Night she included not only the spoken word as SpoFest does, but also presentations in sign languages, interpretive dance and singing.
“Poetry comes out in so many ways,” she said. “Poetry can be so expressive of people’s feelings, that again you get to know the person better. I feel like the person reading the poem or reciting their own poem, they are the artist, and the poem is the medium and the people, who are listening, are the canvas. It’s just a very special thing and I’m looking forward to being there, I hope nothing gets in my way.”
Bryant said music for the event will be performed by Travis DeMoss. Scheduled readers are Douglas Kiburz, Carla Halane, Tim Whitmore, Lela Merrell-Savage, Dave Wisker, Debbie Noland, Jim Rissler and Rose Marie Kinder.
SpoFest presents Favorite Poem Night! will be hosted from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at First Christian Church, 200 S. Limit Ave. The first half of the event, from 7 to 7:40 p.m., will be Favorite Poem Night. The second half of the event, from 7:50 to 8:30 p.m., will be the annual SpoFest Valentine’s Day show.
For more information or to sign up to read, call Bryant at 553-4572 or leave a message on Facebook. Deadline to sign up as a reader is today.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or on Twitter @flbemiss.