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Jawbone will bring National Poetry Month to a close

Maj Ragain reads at Cleveland's Lit Cafe.
Maj Ragain reads at Cleveland's Lit Cafe.
Photo by Andy Timothy.

Prepare to bid a fond farewell to National Poetry Month (at least in its official capacity). However, we’ve got one last huzzah to send us off.

Kent’s annual Jawbone Open Poetry Festival will be taking place, beginning Friday, April 30, and continue throughout the weekend, maybe trying to stretch NPM just a touch longer.

Since 1987, poets—not only from Northeast Ohio but from across the country—have flocked to Kent during the first weekend of May for one of, if not the, longest standing poetry festivals in Ohio. For more than twenty years, poets have been filling the cafes, parks, and galleries with their words, just as they did at the festival’s conception. First organized by Maj Ragain, long-time professor at Kent State University, and a handful of other area poets, Ragain has remained an integral part of the festival ever since.

This year, events of the weekend center around the North Water Street Gallery (257 N. Water St.
Kent, Ohio) and begin there on Friday evening at 8pm. Readings continue all day Saturday, and finally end on Sunday afternoon with a potluck picnic. The complete schedule can be found at the Facebook page for the festival.

Also, with the reading always taking place in close proximity to the anniversary of the Kent State May 4 shootings, some of the art of the weekend inevitably echoes those themes. Another reading will be taking place on Tuesday, May 4 at Last Exit Books (124 East Main St.) in Kent.

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