“Miracles at Land’s End” by poet Gary Lawless, co-owner of Gulf of Maine Bookstore in Brunswick, was featured at a previous Poetry Walk in Library Park in Bath. Contributed / Patten Free Library

The Patten Free Library will celebrate National Poetry Month in April with its fourth annual poetry installation around Library Park.

The Poetry Walk began as a social distancing program during the pandemic in 2021 but has since become an annual tradition. Each year, the library installs about 20 poems on signs for people to view as they walk through the park.

“April is such a beautiful time of year to hold this event,” said Hannah Lackoff, the library’s programs and outreach manager. “I always see dog walkers, parents with small children, and people on their lunch breaks taking time to read the poems as they enjoy the park. It’s great that people can incorporate a poetry walk into their everyday routine.”

Arwyn Sherman visits with her posted poem, “Threshold,” at a previous Poetry Walk. Contributed / Patten Free Library

Two years ago, Lackoff said, she heard from someone who had just relocated to Bath and was in the midst of a stressful moving situation. When he took his dog for a morning walk to the park, he discovered a favorite poem, Ada Limón’s “Instructions for Not Giving Up,” and to him, it felt like a sign.

“There’s truly something for everyone at the Poetry Walk,” Lackoff said.

Four of the poems this year are from library patrons, the winners of a poetry contest the library ran in January and February. Judges selected two winners in each category, under 18 and over 18, to be mounted in the park.


Other poems included in the walk were selected by a committee that sought suggestions from library staff and others in the community.

“We aim for around 10 new pieces every year and include some old favorites from past years,” Lackoff said.

A handful of poems this year are from Bath-area writers and other Maine poets, but others come from around the world and across time periods.

“We aim for inclusivity with our poets and try to select poets of all different races, genders, ages, locations and time periods in which they were written,” Lackoff said.

The selection committee looks for poems that are 14 lines or less and have a spring or hopeful theme. They usually try to include a couple that mention books, reading or libraries.

“This year we are very excited to include Maine State Poet Laureate Julia Bouwsma, who will be speaking at the library on May 10,” Lackoff said.

This article was edited March 21 to remove a reference to events that are not occurring as part the library’s poetry activities this year.  

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