Arts center presents ‘Illinois Poets on Parade’
The Illinois bicentennial celebration occurring across the state throughout the year has given rise to numerous events looking back on the history of the state and the many milestones and achievements over the past two centuries.
One such event was “Illinois Poets on Parade,” which was presented by the Shawnee Hills Arts Council at the Anna Arts Center in Anna. The performances took place Sept. 7-9 at the arts center.
The production featured dramatic readings of poems by eight of Illinois’ most celebrated writers, including Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, and perhaps the most famous Illinoisan of all, Abraham Lincoln.
Included in the event was a section of poems for children, with works by Illinois children’s authors Eugene Field and Shel Silverstein.
Local performers brought the poems to life with staged readings, using props, costume, music and dance in their performances.
Joining the cast were two members of Carbondale’s Stage Company. Charlie Hope Dorsey read selected works by Gwendolyn Brooks. Jeff McGoy performed “The Congo” by Vachel Lindsay.
Selections for “Illinois Poets on Parade” were chosen by the director, Dr. Lynn Steveson.
In the director’s notes section of the show’s program, Steveson describes the importance of live performance in the enjoyment of poetry:
“Poetry is BEST when heard aloud, or, out loud. When the cadences and nuances reach the ear, not just words on a page. When the imagination is fired up! Poetry comes ALIVE when heard!”