“READ A POEM TO A CHILD”
An initiative of 100 Thousand Poets for Change
By: Michael Rothenberg
Tallahassee, FL- September 29, 2018 marks the eighth annual global event for 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC), a non-profit, grassroots organization that brings communities together to address issues within the framework of peace and sustainability. An event that began primarily with poet organizers, 100TPC has grown into an interdisciplinary coalition with year-round events, which includes musicians, dancers, painters and photographers from around the world. For 2018, these events have taken on a unique focus, with the new 100TPC initiative, “Read A Poem To A Child.”
Local issues are still key to this massive global event as communities around the world raise their voices on issues such as homelessness, global warming, education, racism and censorship, through concerts, readings, lectures, workshops, theater performances and other actions.
Events scheduled for the “Read A Poem To A Child” initiative will take place from September 24th – 29th and will include readings in bookstores, schoolrooms, community centers, public libraries, parks and at private homes. Co-founder Terri
Carrion explains that, “All you have to do is read a poem to a child in any setting that is convenient, and you can sign up on our website at http://100tpc.org/sign-up/”
Recently, FSU Libraries Special Collections stepped in to co-sponsor the initiative.
Additionally, Special Collections serves as the home of The John MacKay Shaw Collection, which consists of the extensive Childhood in Poetry Collection and other materials Shaw used to educate his own children through poetry. “Read A Poem To A Child” is a seamless collaboration between 100TPC and FSU Libraries.
Michael Rothenberg, 100TPC co-founder and current FSU Libraries Poet in Residence explains that, “Peace and sustainability are major concerns worldwide, and the guiding principles for this global event.” Rothenberg has emphasized that sustainability requires considering the future of our children.
Rothenberg continued, “We are in a world where it isn’t just one issue that needs to be addressed. A common ground is built through this global compilation of local stories, which is how we create a true narrative for discourse to inform the future.”
In July, 100TPC issued a call to the general public, poets and artists, for participation to sign up and “Read A Poem To A Child.” So far, nearly 2,000 individuals and organizations around the world have signed up. This call offers insights into the
organization’s motivation to create this new initiative and the founders emphasize in their letter of invitation that, “This seems to be an important year to highlight the significance of children in the world. We are increasingly aware of their fragility. It is time to take a moment in this busy, crazy life we live, and share something we cherish.”
The mission of 100TPC is to help build and promote a healthy and sustainable society.
There is evidence that poetry and the arts, in general, do create sustainable communities through an increase in literacy, and critical and creative thinking. Also, bringing the community together to read nurtures individuals and families, establishing bonds and lasting relationships through the special insights and observations that poetry and the arts offer. The objective of “Read A Poem To A Child” is to set a connection point with a
child as an initial step in sharing creative writing appreciation and skills, increase exposure to poetry and the arts, and to encourage thoughtful dialogue among all the community members involved. It is a way to remind ourselves of the responsibility we share in the future of all our children, and it will make us more sensitive and connected to their thoughts, fears and needs as they navigate through an ever-changing world.
Immediately following September 29th 2018, all documentation created by participants will be archived on the 100TPC Blog, which will include specific event pages with photos, video and other documentation, to be preserved by Stanford University in California.
Stanford recognized 100TPC in 2011 as an historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. They will continue to archive the complete contents of 100TPC.org, as part of their digital archiving program LOCKSS.
Co-Founder Michael Rothenberg (email@example.com) is a widely known poet, editor of the online literary magazine Bigbridge.org and Florida State University Libraries Poet in Residence. Co-founder Terri Carrion is a poet, translator, photographer, and editor and visual designer for BigBridge.org.
100 Thousand Poets for Change
P.O. Box 180052
Tallahassee, Florida 32318