Words Flow on a Day in the Park Poets Gather to Read Works, Hear Others'

Article excerpt

ORANGE PARK -- They are an eclectic group and their artistry,

much like the music lyrics that refer to different strokes for

different folks, can be as different as night and day.

Such was the case at the third annual Orange Park Poetry

Festival in Orange Park's Town Hall Park Saturday, where poets

came from all over Florida to read works on love, war, rain,

snowy days, death, environmental issues and affairs of the

heart.

The poets -- young and older, some with long hair and others

with not as much hair, sporting outfits that included jeans,

long dresses, headbands, caps and hats -- were as different as

their writing. Some sat and spoke solemnly while others told

humorous tales and some mixed music with their words.

Such variety is what many say draws them to these events.

"Some poems touch the soul, while others let you go home

knowing that your life is not as bad as you thought," said Carla

Brinck, who lives on Jacksonville's Westside and says she

appreciates poetry and the people who write it. "When I was a

teen I used to hang and listen to poets in Riverside Park and I

am still hanging out and listening to them. There is just

something about listening to the words that I like."

Organizers of the festival said a number of people are

rediscovering poetry and interest in the subject is on the rise.

"I once heard that a poet can't steal your soul, but I think a

poet can lend their soul to those who don't have one or can't

find theirs," said John Hammond, whose desire to bring poets

together resulted in the forming of the festival. "My interest

in poetry began 50 years ago and I would like to see this event

grow to include classes and seminars on the subject. Poets have

a lot to offer people because they know about problems and care

enough to reach us emotionally through poetry."

One of the youngest poets to take the stage was Arion Warren,

7, a blond-haired, blue-eyed first-grader at Orange Park

Elementary School. When asked why she writes poetry, she

clutched her stuffed penguin and the words rolled out almost as

if she were getting ready to write another poem.

"I just think of things I want to say, I write them down, I

read over them and then I write more about it," said the

thoughtful youngster. …