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Poet Rachel McKibbens at Gould

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  • In celebration of National Poetry Month, Gould Academy will welcome award-winning poet Rachel McKibbens and Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco to its Bingham Hall auditorium on Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m., for a free public reading by Ms. McKibbens.

    She is a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and author of the critically acclaimed volume of poetry, Pink Elephant (Cypher Books, 2009). McKibbens is a legend within the poetry slam community, noted for her accomplishments both on and off the stage: she is a nine-time National Poetry Slam team member, has appeared on eight NPS final stages, coached the New York louderARTS poetry slam team to three consecutive final stage appearances, is the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion and the 2011 National Underground Poetry Slam individual champion. For four years McKibbens taught poetry through the Healing Arts Program at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and continues to teach poetry and creative writing and give lectures across the country as an advocate for mental health awareness, gender-equality and victims of violence and domestic abuse.

    Her appearance, which is part of The Richard Blanco Visiting Writers Program and Retreat — a collaboration between Richard Blanco and Gould Academy — continues the program’s mission to celebrate living writers and build appreciation for contemporary work.

    Mr. Blanco will introduce Ms. McKibbens at the Thursday night event, as well has host her at his Bethel, Maine cottage for two weeks, during which time she will receive an honorarium for working with Gould students and faculty.

    “Part of what I learned over the process of being the inaugural poet was that we as a country need to continue to create new generations of readers and appreciators of poetry,” Blanco says. “Through contact with contemporary work and contemporary authors, my hope is that students at Gould Academy can develop that appreciation and understand that poetry, just like any art, is still vibrant and alive today — one that can teach us about ourselves and about the world.”

    For more information on Rachel McKibbens’ reading on April 23 or on The Richard Blanco Visiting Writers Program and Retreat, visitgouldacademy.org or contact Darcy Lambert at lambertd@gouldacademy.org or 207-824-7778.

    For more information on Richard Blanco, visit richard-blanco.com.

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