Poetry group plans fundraising gala Sunday in Modesto

pclark@modbee.comMay 1, 2014 

Poetry might not be the most visible art form in Stanislaus County, but a group of regional poets and enthusiasts are making the “MoSt” of efforts to raise its profile.

The Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center – MoSt for short – was established in January 2013 with the goal of “promoting poetry throughout Stanislaus County and promoting Stanislaus County through poetry.” With about 45 members, the group has established a variety of regular programs, events and activities.

“Poetry is just one of the many forms of art that are thriving in our county. ... We want people to know that art and culture are alive and thriving here, and we are using poetry to communicate that message,” MoSt president Gillian Wegener said in an email.

A benefit gala for MoSt will be held Sunday at Barkin’ Dog Grill in downtown Modesto, 940 11th St. The celebration, from 2 to 4 p.m., will be open to the public and will feature music, art, food and – of course – poetry. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door or at http://mostpoetrybenefit.eventbrite.com.

A group project, “The Stanislaus Poem,” will make its debut at the fundraiser. Wegener said the poem is a community collaboration in which residents were asked to submit four-line stanzas celebrating life in the county. Submissions were arranged into one long poem, which will be presented as an illustrated book.

Gala proceeds will help fund readings, workshops and more for schools, groups and organizations throughout the county. Regular events include monthly readings at Barkin’ Dog and quarterly readings at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock. MoSt also held a poetry festival in February, with another set for 2015.

While poetry might not be as highly visible as other arts in the region, MoSt board member Tom Myers wants people to give it a chance, even if they think it’s not particularly approachable.

Poetry “allows one to see the world in (a) new and different way,” Myers said in an email. “Understanding the meaning of the poem is not as important as finding a word or image in the poem that catches your attention and makes you sit up and take notice. Find poetry that is accessible to you. If you enjoy it, that is all that really matters.”

For more on the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center, see Sunday’s Lifestyles section in The Bee.

Bee staff writer Pat Clark can be reached at pclark@modbee.com or (209) 578-2312.

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