Kate Chadbourne presents “Word Music and Musical Words: A Celebration of Lyric Poetry” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, in the Lunenburg Public Library, 1023 Massachusetts Ave. Chadbourne is an accomplished singer, harper and storyteller. (COURTESY OF KATE CHADBOURNE)
LUNENBURG — The community is invited to listen to beautiful old poems, set to music, and discuss the features that make them singable with a hands-on exploration of lyric poetry — the kind that sings.
The event, titled “Word Music and Musical Words: A Celebration of Lyric Poetry with Kate Chadbourne” will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in the Lunenburg Public Library.
“The audience will have a chance to experiment with the musicality of poems both familiar and new and to declaim them in a way unique to them,” said Chadbourne, an accomplished singer, harper and storyteller. “Together, we’ll create a short lyric poem and put it to the ultimate test by singing it right there on the spot.”
No singing or poetry experience is required, she said. “All you need is an appreciation of words and music and a willingness to explore.”
Chadbourne is also an award-winning songwriter and poet, a scholar and teacher of Irish language and folklore with a doctorate from Harvard and a beloved performer at venues throughout New England.
She has been honored as a “tradition bearer” in the Revels Salon series and in the Gaelic Roots Concert Series at Boston College, while her music has been featured on NPR’s programs such as “Cartalk” and “All Songs Considered.”
Chadbourne has released six solo CDs, three collections of poetry and two books to encourage and support artists, musicians and creators.
Her CD, “A Celtic Blessing Year”, takes listeners on a mythic journey through the eight feasts of the traditional Irish year. Her latest book, “A November Visit,” explores the bleak and beautiful late fall season through poems, stories and Irish folklore.
“What I most want people to know about poetry is that it is for them – not for some exotic group of academics or intellectuals,” Chadbourne said. “You get to have poetry on your own terms. It’s a matter of taste and choice. What brings you alive? That’s the poetry for you.”
Chadbourne believes that poetry gives us the opportunity to pause and think, to appreciate even the smallest things that sometimes escape our notice and, most importantly, to connect with our hearts.
“Everyday life moves very fast,” she said. “Poetry invites us to move at the pace of life – a gentler, more human scale.”
Poetry is also an opportunity to play with language and to explore what things mean to us, she said. “Poetry is sort of the crossroads of thinking and feeling – and doing more of both is, I believe, very good for all of us!”
Chadbourne is proud to serve as what she calls “an ambassador of poetry,” encouraging everyone to write, read and love the art in their own way.
This year, she is set to host the fourth annual April Poetry Celebration on YouTube, which will be free and open to poets of all ages and “even people who do not consider themselves poets,” she said with a smile.
Poets send their poems to Chadbourne, who then reads as many as possible in her weekly videos. The celebration has attracted poets as young as 4 and all the way up into the late 80s.
The event at the Lunenburg Public Library will highlight the musicality of poetry — Chadbourne said she was excited to share that experience to everyone in April, otherwise known as National Poetry Month.
“When poetry meets music, something very special happens,” Chadbourne said. “Singing or hearing beautiful words can elevate us, transform us, and bring us great joy.”
For more information, those interested can call 978-582-4140 or visit lunenburglibrary.org. For more information on Kate Chadbourne, visit katechadbourne.com.