Poets Go

(Bradenton, Fla., June 7, 2006) - Chartered in the spring of 2005, The Live Poets Society at Manatee Community College (MCC) Bradenton derived its name from a highly acclaimed film from the late '80s, The Dead Poets' Society. Many members of MCC's club have found their poetic voices in readings, discussions and campuswide open-mic events at the college campus, and are branching out into the community.

After reading a poem at a Live Poets open-mic reading at MCC Bradenton, club member Shavonda Bailey entered and won first place in the adult category in an HIV/AIDS Poetry Slam sponsored by the Manatee County Health Department in May. She had informed friend and fellow MCC student Celia Washington about the competition and Washington came in second.

Bailey, 27 and a Bradenton resident, hopes to graduate with an associate in applied science degree in business administration and management next May. However, she's decided that writing poetry will play a key role in her career plans as well. She has launched a poetry group of her own and an empowerment organization for youth and adults. She believes poetry is a tool for creating a positive atmosphere in which success seems attainable.

Members of The Live Poets Club read their work at an open-mic event sponsored by JavaMoon Coffee in Bradenton and plan to do more coffee house readings. They also participate in college-sponsored events such as Open House, Club Rush, Spring Fling and Fall Frolic.

 "The first open-mic poetry reading sponsored by The Live Poets at MCC Bradenton was a great success. A crowd of about 50 MCC students, staff and faculty was entertained by poets and musicians, each of whom was thought-provoking and/or inspirational in his or her individual way," said faculty advisor Dr. Len Blanchard.

A collection of Blanchard's poems, Provocations of the Birds and the Beach, and an epic poem about Crazy Horse, An American Passion, have been published and approximately 200 of his poems have appeared in more than 60 literary magazines and journals nationwide. His poems have been nominated three times for a prestigious Pushcart Prize. Blanchard is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Finance and Business and Who's Who Among America's Teachers.

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