Orem Public Library hosts annual Orem Reads event

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Orem residents Emily and Brian Adams color with their three kids at the Orem Reads opening event on Monday, Sept. 15. The Adams said they were especially excited that this year’s event would be centered around kids and poetry.

OREM — Kids can get a taste of poetry at the annual Orem Reads event hosted at the Orem Public Library during the next couple of weeks.

Orem Public Library hosted a kickoff event for Orem Reads on Monday, which was the first of seven events to be hosted at the library until Oct. 2. All events are free, open to the public and family friendly.

“It’s a little different than what we’ve done before,” said Marilee Clark, a member of the library’s outreach staff. “Almost every year we have done fiction.”

The goal of Orem Reads this year is “to celebrate the fun, creativity and thrill found in reading, writing, collecting and sharing poetry,” said Ruth Covington in a press release.

On Monday, local poet and library patron Gina Clark spoke to the attendants about the joy of poetry. She brought a coat that previously belonged to Leslie Norris, a famous poet who resided in Orem. Clark’s focus was on keeping a poem in one’s pocket and used Norris’ coat as a visual aid while taking certain poems out of the coats’ pockets.

“Words have a way of conveying ideas and experiences,” Clark said in her presentation. Clark,  who has an MFA in creative writing and is a longtime volunteer with the library, also spoke on the beauty of poetry and encouraged the audience to read poems out loud to hear how a poem is truly supposed to sound.

Many child-friendly games and activities took place as well. Families could jump rope with rhymes, play matching games and create haikus, among other activities.

“We came tonight because I have always valued Orem Reads, and this year it is geared more toward kids and family,” said Emily Adams, an Orem resident who attended with her husband, Brian, and three kids.

“It is a really fun way to introduce kids to poetry,” Brian Adams said as he colored with his kids.

At each event, local poet will come and speak. Presentations are meant to help open the eyes of the community to poetry and help unite them in their appreciation for it.

“We are really lucky to have so many great poets in our area,” Clark said. Poets like Katharine Coles, Alex Caldiero, Lance Larsen and Robert Pinsky will speak at the events.

The next event will be Thursday, Sept. 18, where Lance Larsen, Utah’s current Poet Laureate, will be giving a reading and speaking on the importance of the written word in everyday lives.

Pinksy will present at the finale on Oct. 2. He was the United States Poet Laureate from 1997 to 2000. His book, “Singing School,” is being given out for free at each event, one per household while supplies last.

“We are really excited for this year,” Clark said. “Poetry can be intimidating, but we are trying to make it more accessible.”

For more information on events, go to lib.orem.org.

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