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Free Verse Festival publishes poems from Charleston residents related to 'connectedness'

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Poetry by Jean Catherine Hubbard was on the top of a pizza box from D'Allesandro's on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Charleston. The Free Verse Festival is bringing back poetry on pizza boxes, this time in partnership with Baker's Bar. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Poetry is bringing the Charleston community together during the coronavirus crisis. 

On April 16, Charleston Scene published an issue of poems written about (or because of) the coronavirus. The issue, featuring work by 18 South Carolina authors, was curated by the state's poet laureate Marjory Wentworth. 

One of the featured authors, Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker, is the founder of the Free Verse Festival, which focuses on poetry and strives to make an impact on the community.

Amaker worked with local music manager and creative community organizer Jean Catherine Hubbard to curate some local poetry of their own. 

Amaker and Hubbard collected poems from local residents that riff on themes of "community" and "connectedness" and refer to personal experiences during the pandemic. The result is 10 poems (and counting) from community members.

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"The goal is to help connect and inspire our community during a time when everyone's feeling isolated and alone," Hubbard said. 

The poems are currently on view at westillcreate.com/quarantine-poems and freeversefestival.com/quarantine-poems

The festival also has partnered with local restaurant Baker's Bar to put snippets of the poems on takeout pizza boxes.

"We wanted to participate in the poetry collaboration because, in times like these, every little bit of inspiration and insight seems to be a ray of sunshine in a seemingly unending cloudy day," Baker Bar's Ben Johnson shares. 

Last October, Free Verse partnered with D'Allesandro's Pizza for a similar project. 

Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

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