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Poets, musicians take over Downtown Dover this Friday

Special weekend includes a no-touch scavenger hunt, live poetry performances

Emily Lytle
Dover Post
Kari Ann Ebert, an award-winning poet, writer and editor from Dover, worked with the Downtown Dover Partnership to plan Downtown Dover Poetry Weekend Sept. 4.

As people stroll down Loockerman Street Friday, Sept. 4, they may be convinced that they’ve traveled back in time. Poets and musicians, some dressed in vintage attire or clacking away on old typewriters, will perform around the shops and streets of downtown Dover between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Starting at noon Sept. 4 and lasting throughout the weekend, families can participate in a no-touch scavenger hunt, which will take them through the downtown shops to learn more about poetry.

The idea for this literary celebration, part of Downtown Dover Poetry Weekend, came from Dover poet and writer, Kari Ann Ebert. She said she would often travel to writing events up and down the state, and she noticed Kent County seemed to be lacking those same opportunities. “I thought, ‘well, let’s make something happen,’” she said. 

Each first Friday of the month, the nonprofit Downtown Dover Partnership hosts a “First Friday” celebration to promote businesses downtown. Ebert met with the DDP First Friday planning team in January, and they originally scheduled the poetry weekend in April, but the pandemic forced them to postpone. 

Lori Llewellyn, co-chair of the DDP Merchants Committee, said the team was on board right away. “When we met Kari, we immediately wanted to include her in the First Friday mix, but with the COVID concerns we had to postpone,” she said. “While First Fridays have included a broad array of music and visual arts, we are really excited to expand to feature literary arts this month.”

With support from the Delaware Division of the Arts and Delaware Humanities, Ebert set off to reimagine an event that could help keep people safe.

For example, in the no-touch scavenger hunt people can use their smartphones to look for clues at different stores downtown and scan QR codes that will lead them to more clues. Each clue gives participants points that will add up to earn them a free poetry “swag bag” full of fun items to take home, including a magnetic poetry kit. Swag bags will be available as supplies last throughout the weekend. 

In creating an interactive activity, Ebert said she hopes people learn that poetry can be fun. “I hope that they learn that poetry is really accessible, also that there are so many different genres of poetry,” she said.

Those genres will be on full display as poets perform spoken word, read from prepared poems or even tap one out on a typewriter and hand it to passersby. 

Beyond the state grants, Downtown Dover Poetry Weekend is sponsored by the Holly Branch chapter of the National League of American Pen Women.

For more information, visit https://Tinyurl.com/DoverPoetryWeekend.

Writing workshop for teens

Delaware teens are invited to a free poetry writing workshop with the Twin Poets, Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Al Mills.

They will recite some of their poetry and then engage workshop participants in writing exercises to develop their own poems. The Twin Poets will also discuss the importance of journaling in the creative process. Space is limited.

WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 20 at 1 p.m.

REGISTER: Eventbrite or Facebook event