5 Poets, 5 Parks Poetry Event


The #5poets5parks initiative launched on April 5, 2024 at the Glass City Pavilion at Glass City Metropark. Led by Toledo native and Georgia Author of the Year Finalist, Julie E. Bloemeke in recognition of National Poetry Month, the celebration honored the conversation between poetry and conservation efforts at five Toledo Metroparks: Farnsworth Metropark, Glass City Metropark, Oak Openings Preserve, Side Cut Metropark, and Wildwood Preserve. 

Over the course of almost a year, five award-winning Toledo poets collaborated with a photographer and letterpress printer to pay homage and celebrate each greenspace by spotlighting park history, biodiversity, and art. The event debuted original work by Lucas County Poet Laureate Jonie McIntire, Ryan Bunch, Dustin Pearson (recently awarded the 2024 Nancy Dasher Book Award), Tim Geiger, and Kerry Trautman. To prepare, each poet spent time in their park to compose their poem, then worked with Sven Olaf Nelson, founder of Pineapple Press and Design, to create a custom letterpress printed postcard of their final piece. Hand typeset and printed on handmade paper containing native Northwest Ohio seeds from Blue Creek Nursery, each postcard features a different typeface and layout that speaks to the poet’s vision and work; the keepsakes were created to be kept, displayed, sent, or planted in full sun. Toledo photographer Doug Hinebaugh’s Metropark photography was featured in a slideshow throughout the celebration.

The April 5 event sold out two weeks in advance with over one hundred Metroparks fans in attendance, including Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, who made a special appearance in support of National Poetry Month. The celebration opened with music by Thaddeus Washington, producer of Common Ground, an album featuring guitar and original recordings of nature sounds captured at various Toledo Metroparks. After the reading, the poets signed their postcards, which were distributed as a gift to the Toledo community. The program included introductory and concluding remarks by Bloemeke and Matt Killam, Chief Outreach Officer of Toledo Metroparks, who announced that the #5poets5parks collaboration would continue for 2025, featuring five additional parks and poets. 

The event was covered by photographers Scott Carpenter and Doug Hinebaugh and featured on WTOL channel 11 news. Poco Piatti catered the reception following the reading. 

Details regarding #5poets5parks for 2025 will be made available November 2024.

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