National Poetry Month takes off at Alibi Bookshop – The Vacaville Reporter

National Poetry Month takes off at Alibi Bookshop – The Vacaville Reporter

It’s National Poetry Month, and Vallejo Co-Poets Laureate Jacalyn Eyvonne and Kathleen Hermann want to make celebrating poetry accessible and exciting to newcomers.

The poetic duo created a two-night event— “A Celebration of Poetic Diversity” — designed to serve as an open invitation to the community, not just established poets. The next poetry evening will occur on April 18, featuring Hermann’s special guests, Suisun Poet Laureate Excalibur and Vallejo Poet Anna Quismario.

The first of the two events kicked off April 4 on a cold rainy night in Alibi Bookshop. Yet, despite the unwelcome weather, the bookshop was soon filled with a diverse mix of generations and ethnicities, both poets and newcomers alike.

The first night was curated by Eyvonne, who had featured guests Richmond Poet Laureate Stephen Sharpe and Vallejo Poet Julie Voice there to read and interact with the audience.

“She gave it plenty of room to breathe,” said Hermann, offering her praise for Eyvonne’s program. “For guest poets to read and express themselves and then audience participation. It wasn’t just constricted to a formal program where people came and listened and left, it was interactive,” said Hermann.

Hermann even recalled hearing the comments of a young woman in her twenties who said, “this is my first poetry reading,” to which someone else responded, “you picked a good one.” The lively gathering was not afraid to share past poetry reading experiences, with many comparing this evening to other boring readings.

During the evening, Eyvonne read her own poem, “A Clock With No Hands,” which detailed her experience growing up not knowing who her father was. The poem resonated with one young man and he was compelled to share his own similar upbringing with Eyvonne after the reading.

“Our words can often provide some emotional areas for people to contemplate, heal and reflect,” said Eyvonne gratefully.

Another unexpected but welcome aspect to this event was the grant that Hermann secured from Poets and Writers Magazine. This sponsorship not only afforded the program an added element of gravitas, but it also allowed them to reimburse their guest poets for their participation.

It was wonderful to offer compensation for artistic work, which doesn’t always happen in the poetry world, said Hermann.

As Hermann looks ahead to her program, she voiced her excitement to host Excalibur, who works closely with rhythm to link his music and poetry. “It’s important for him not to just sit and read from a piece of paper, but to make eye contact with people and gesture towards them. He’s a very dynamic performer,” said Hermann.

The audience’s warm and inviting engagement during their first celebration night has only increased Hermann and Eyvonne’s excitement for another full bookstore and eager group of listeners.

“The range of attendees was truly diverse,” said the poetic duo, reflecting on their first event at the bookshop. “From people who have already been writing poetry awhile to people who are curious to discover what is this poetry thing.”


  • WHAT: A Celebration of Poetic Diversity
  • WHERE: Alibi Bookshop, 624 Marin St., Vallejo.
  • WHEN: April 18, 6:30 p.m.
  • TICKETS: Free

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