It takes a certain breed to capture the world with words. A poet’s ability to extract the nuances of life is reserved for those with a unique perspective. For ten years, Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island has been a gathering ground for these explorative thinkers. On August 18, the Block Island Poetry Project (BIPP) commemorated a decade of poetic collaboration with its Event in the Tent. The community of poets gathered for an evening of poetry sharing as a fundraiser for the poetry anthology, Where Beach Meets Ocean, a collection of 103 poems from more than 95 poets sampling years of creative work and poetic excellence. Lynne Bryan Phipps was among the artistic camaraderie that night, sharing her poem, The Spaces Between, which is featured in Where Beach Meets Ocean.
Accomplished poets including BIPP founder Lisa Starr and guest James Stevenson, poet, author, illustrator, former cartoonist for The New Yorker, and op-ed columnist for The New York Times, read selections from Where Beach Meets Ocean. Virginia Dare, Jayme Hennessy, and the Block Island Singers sculpted the creative mass with their musical interludes that bridged the poetry selections and led to an outpouring of energy and passion.
“This event is near and dear to my heart because it embodies everything that Inspirited Living is all about. It heartened, it inspired and it encouraged all of us to embrace our creativity as a community.”
Rhode Island Poetry Laureate, Lisa Starr, began the Block Island Poetry Project (BIPP) in 2004 while looking for a means to combine her passion for poetry with her duties as innkeeper of the Hygeia House, a historic Victorian inn on Block Island. She began hosting groups of writers and poets to share their work over long weekends. Lisa came to realize her calling to bring writers together in a creative and collaborative environment and the over the next couple years the group met more and more frequently. Starr and her fellow poets fostered a constructive atmosphere combining improvisation with attention to craft that served to develop the writers holistically. According to Starr, “The Block Island Poetry Project rejuvenates and reconnects members to their own particular passions, enabling them to return home with a clearer vision of how they can best serve the world.”