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Poetry of William Jay Smith, America’s 19th Poet Laureate

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On Monday, March 28th, we will be hosting a mixed media presentation of 5 poems by William Jay Smith, America’s 19th Poet Laureate.

The performance will begin at 6PM.

William Jay Smith (1918-2015) America’s 19th Poet Laureate collaborated with composer Alice Spatz and filmmaker Eric Shepherd during the last years of his life to create a mixed media program of five of his poems.

US Poet Laureate and WW2 veteran, Smith was appointed the nineteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1968 to 1970. He was a well recognized international man of letters. Though he lived in Cummington for many years and remained active well into his nineties, Smith was not widely known in Western Mass.

The program consists of a film, produced by Eric Shepherd, of William Jay Smith reading and discussing the five poems combined with newly composed music by Alice Spatz. Shepherd and Spatz will also discuss the creative processes that led to this unusual collaboration.

Spatz and Shepherd are both Berkshire artists.

This project has received generous support from the following Local Cultural Councils: Cummington, Dalton, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Worthington, as well as grants from the Friends of the Berkshire Atheneum and Kimball Farms.

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