Athens Poet Laureate Wendy McVicker to Present Silver Lining Poetry Party June 26

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Wendy McVicker is Athens’ third poet laureate, decreed as such by The Athens Municipal Arts Commission shortly before the world shut down in response to the COVID-19 crisis earlier this year.

“My dear friend Emily Prince she said to me that she thought it was the very definition of irony that I became the cyber poet laureate, because, really, planting trees and chalking sidewalks is more my area of expertise and interest,” laughed McVicker during an interview with WOUB Culture a few weeks before the virtual Silver Lining Poetry Party that she will be presenting in conjunction with Arts West on Friday, June 26. The event was initially supposed to be a sort of meet-and-greet with McVicker slated for May 2020, which, like so much else, had to be cancelled and reimagined.

Athens poet laureate Wendy McVicker regularly writes poems in chalk near her home in Athens, writing a new one whenever the old one is washed away by rain. On this occasion, she was lucky enough to receive an answer! (Submitted)

McVicker’s proposal to The Athens Municipal Arts Commission for the position of poet laureate detailed a lot of very tactile, physical work in promoting poetry in the context of the region. One of the highlights include the planting of “poet-trees,” a unique art that combines not only the planting of a tree (“which we should all be doing every chance we get,” said McVicker) but also the writing of a fragment of poetry on a piece of newsprint that is then mixed in with compost and earth and wrapped around the ball of the tree to provide it with nourishment.

Even with the roadblocks and uncertainty that the COVID-19 crisis have created, McVicker has not been discouraged, and she has been very active, while maintaining safety, in fulfilling her duties as poet laureate. Every Monday, McVicker shares a virtual Silver Lining Moments poem in conjunction with Arts West, and earlier this year she worked with Passion Works’ Parade in Place to create a community-sourced poem that she will read at the Silver Lining Poetry Party. Additionally, McVicker is working with WOUB Public Media to record conversations with regional poets as a series entitled “River of Words.”

Listen to WOUB’s conversation with McVicker embedded above. You can find more information on the Silver Lining Poetry Party at this link, and you can keep up with McVicker and her work as Athens poet laureate via this link.