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EAST GOSHEN — Tucked away under a pavilion in East Goshen Park, residents of Chester County gathered to share their poetry Thursday evening.
In a tradition started last year, East Goshen’s Poet Laureate, Virginia Newlin, called upon local poets to create their own masterpieces and share them in summer poetry reading sessions in the park.
“They named me the poet laureate of East Goshen,” Newlin said. “We did it a couple of times last summer and if it goes well, we’ll do it another time this summer.”
As the poet laureate of the township, Newlin thought this would be a nice way to gather together the talented residents, even if she does joke about her title.
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“You’re allowed to giggle,” she said with a smile. “I don’t think there were a huge number of candidates.”
On Thursday’s reading, five local poets came out — Virginia Badler, Joe Quinton, Marie Knox, Kate Varley and Newlin herself.
They were joined by special guest Paul Selbst, a Philadelphia poet.
His opening piece, “The Martini Song,” drew a lot of smiles from the audience.
“Their tasteful dryness will banish shyness, raise your nose, tilt your glass, other cocktails are totally crass,” his poem read. “Now here’s to the gents and their ladies, who prefer the finer things. Although we may end up in Hades, it’s more fun than flapping those wings.”
The poems read by all six authors were created by each, and they had anywhere between three to eight of them to share.
“These are all our own work,” Newlin said. “These are our poets. We’ll read one after another and read about three to five at a time. Then you listen and you can turn thumbs down or thumbs up, whichever you want.”
Newlin couldn’t ask for a better evening as, though the sun shone bright, the heat backed off from earlier in the week.
In any case, Newlin brought lemonade and cookies for the other poets and the crowd to enjoy during the hour-and-a-half reading.
The audience was treated to every type of poem — from ones about drinks to ones about the beach, about vegetables and about girls, some happy and some sad.
“The next letter, worded in black, was from her husband,” read Badler. “He said he was tired of walking on eggshells. She killed herself at a place with a stunning view.”
East Goshen residents passing by on the trails were attracted by the small gathering and sat down to be enthralled as well.
“It’s fun for my feet, I learn about currents and wind from the fleet of sticks I’m sailing,” Newlin read. “Then rest in the shade a big tree has made … It has lessons for me. This stream must flow free. We need to take care, that this water is clear, that shade trees are near … And the newt and the snake and the bird because these are special things to be seen and special things to be heard.”