Poets recall 'Hope in Hard Times' at Washington State History Museum

In honor of National Poetry Month, join 2010-11 Tacoma Poet Laureate Tammy Robacker and writer Maria Gudaitis with special guest poets on Sun., April 29, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. as they read poems in response to “Hope in Hard Times: Washington During the Great Depression” — an exhibit at the Washington State History Museum.

“The Museum, which celebrates and conserves images, words, artifacts and papers, is an appropriate, resonant location for this event that celebrates thoughtful writing about hope and suffering. Both the History Museum and poetry attempt to preserve community memories and individual experiences. Both also aim to preserve a sense of meaning associated with the human experience,” said Robacker.

At the “Hope for Hard Times” event, Robacker and Gudaitis will read with prominent Northwest poets, including 2011-13 Tacoma Poet Laureate Josie Emmons Turner, Allen Braden, Elijah Muied and Hans Ostrom. Like the exhibit, the reading will touch on poverty and resourcefulness — distress and courage — to show how artistic voices add meaning to memories of important eras.

“The Museum’s exhibit bears witness to Americans living through the worst economic crisis in our history. Survival and celebration go hand in hand. Even in the darkest time, people wrote poems. We see this in the Bible, in Holocaust art, in the poems of Prague Spring and in poets under house arrest in China today. Art lifts spirits. And the South Sound could use a creative boost, because the current economic downturn has depleted us,” said Gudaitis.

Admission to the event is $6 per person. At 2 p.m., the public will be invited to enjoy an exhibition briefing, a gallery walk through of the show, a break with refreshments provided by Anthem Coffee and Tea, and admission to the special poetry reading at 3 p.m. in the Auditorium. All proceeds go to the Washington State History Museum, a non-profit organization located at 1911 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma. Guests are also invited to join the poets at a post-event poetry party between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Anthem Coffee and Tea (right next door to the Museum).

For more information, visit http://washingtonhistory.org/ .