The poetry came fast, and the poetry came slow. It came funny and it came sad.
It came Friday night to the Lawrence Arts Center, where more than 100 people gathered to hear what area poets had to say in a Poetry Night, scheduled as part of the Harvest of Arts celebration in town.
"We organize poetry readings all over town all the time, and I find it's a really good way for the community to hear poetry,'' said Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, the organizer of the event. "The poets are limited to five minutes each, and there's a lot of variety in the poetry. We really wanted to do this for people.''
Harvest of Arts is a joint project of the Lawrence Art Guild Assn., Downtown Lawrence and the Lawrence Alliance.
The evening's emotions rose and fell according to the content of the work being read. Wayne Propst of Lawrence offered humorous insights about visiting a discount store; Denise Low, a Haskell Indian Junior College instructor, followed him by reading some work by a poet who died recently.
"There was a man who was becoming part of the community named William Oandasan,'' Low said. "He was a Yuki poet, and he visited here at KU and Haskell just last April, and he died last month. I wanted to take some time to make a memorial to him in this context.''
Among the images that danced around the performance space at the Arts Center: An exile contemplates being forced to return to his native land, in a poem by Brian Daldorph, and a woman contemplates life before the Detroit riots, in a poem by Cheryl Lester.
Lester also plugged the continuing Poetry Slam evenings held on alternating Mondays at the Flamingo Club in North Lawrence; she said the next one would be Oct. 12.
Low said she enjoyed reading work in settings such as in the Poetry Night.
"It's important that writers get out into the community, because they are part of a living community,'' she said.