Improbable Places Poetry Tour: Barter Brothers Flower Shop

Last night's stop on the Improbable Places Poetry Tour may be the loveliest, and certainly the best smelling venue yet! (I really need a camera with smell-o-vision.)

The Barter Brothers Flower Shop played host to 60+ people as we crowded into a our neighborhood flower shop in downtown Beverly. In the audience were students and faculty/staff from Montserrat College of Art, local poets, poetry lovers, first-time readers--even city council members.

There were flowers on chairs with poems attached.

I brought my son, Alex (red jacket). There he sits with host Colleen Michaels' daughter Eliza. Behind him are poets Margaret Young (left) and Melissa Varnavas.

And this is why Colleen is extraordinary--she knows how to make everyone feel welcome. In her opening remarks, she reminded us that events like this help us define our community. And on a dreary Thursday night, she was excited to host because there was "a riot of color to greet us."

Colleen asked the flower shop owner to read one of Theodore Roethke's flower poems. Roethke's German-born father owned a nursery, so reading one in his series of 13 floral poems was the perfect touch.

Melissa Varnavas

Cindy Veach

At the end of the scheduled readers, of whom there were roughly 20, we were asked to read the poems (or excerpts of poems) attached to the flowers on the chairs. They were marked 1-12. My 7-year old son--who is a beginning reader--read poem #7. Here it is:

"The almost disturbing scent
of peonies presses through the screens,
and I know without looking how
those heavy white heads lean down
under the moon's light"

~Jane Kenyon


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