Great American Poetry Workshops Scheduled

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 From Central Alabama Performing Arts Guild

The Central Alabama Performing Arts Guild will host a four-week series of American Poetry Workshops to be held via Zoom beginning March 4.

The free workshops are the result of Mike Schiermann’s passion for American poetry, and the Guild’s approaching Poetry Slam on April 24.

“I’ve had a love for poetry since I was a child,” says Schiermann, who chose the 20 poems to be studied in the weekly sessions. “I’m pretty sure it started with Dr. Seuss. My mom and dad would read to me every night at bedtime, and there were always Dr. Seuss books in the mix. Books like Green Eggs and Ham, And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street, The Cat in the Hat, and The Sleep Book. Those were some of the first books I ever read, and they set me on the road to a lifetime of appreciation for poetry.”

The poems themselves come from the bedrock of the American Poetry tradition, and include well-known classics like Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer and The Spell of the Yukon by Robert W. Service, as well as less-famous American works such as Silver by Walter de la Mare and The Owl-Critic by James T. Fields.

“Each of these works has a distinct personality all its own, and each reveals something about the American People,” Schiermann said. “Who are we? What do we stand for? Why are these things important to us? Some are funny, some are dramatic; others are sentimental or contemplative. But they all say something important about America and the people who call it home.”

The four workshops will include poetry readings by participants and group discussions about the messages contained in the poems. In addition, Schiermann plans to help participants hone their skills at reading poetry aloud.

“The oral presentation of poetry is an art form unto itself,” Schiermann said. “And this year’s Poetry Slam event includes a new interpretation segment where people have the chance to read a famous or classic poem written by someone else. These workshops are just the thing to help folks of all ages get ready for that.”

To register for the sessions and receive workshop materials and an invitation to join the Zoom events, send your email address to or message Central Alabama Performing Arts Guild on Facebook. There is no cost to register or to attend the workshops. If you have questions, please call Mary Schiermann at 205-907-0008.