Oliver de la Paz, Worcester Poet Laureate
Civic Project Proposal: The Rain Poetry Project Project Summary: The Rain Poetry project was started by the Worcester County Poetry Association in 2021.It brought thirteen poems, written by diverse poets of Worcester, to bus stops throughout the city.
Poems were painted on the concrete using stencils and Rain Works’ Rain Paint, a paint that is only visible when wet. The poems lasted for 2-4 months in their locations. The selected poets were then brought together for a community reading with friends and family.
This coming year will be the third year the project has been in place. While I am not affiliated directly with the Worcester County Poetry Association, I hope, as Poet Laureate, to assist them in broadening the appeal of poetry throughout Worcester County in conjunction with efforts through the City of Worcester’s Culture Office.
My goals for the project are threefold: 1) to use my platform as Worcester Poet Laureate to increase the participation of the schools and the community in this project, 2) to create more civic participation in this project making it a legacy event, and pairing the creation and revelation of the Rain Poems in an annual public ceremony that is open to the public with the support of local organizations and businesses, 3) finally, to create an archive of this project through photographs and videos of the creation and display of the works that will be available via the web and social media, but also as a print anthology for participants.
●August 2023: Begin Promotion of Rain Poetry to Schedule Poet Laureate readings in the schools and direct solicitation of worksfrom teachersoContact press and begin community outreach to garner excitement for the next cycle of Rain Poetry and launch the application of the 2023 Rain Poetry poems
●November-December 2023: Selection of Rain Poems to be Judged by Poets Laureate—former PL Juan Matos and Youth Poet Laureate Adael Mejia as well as members of the Worcester County Poetry Association and a member of the Worcester Cultural Coalition
●January 2024: Announcement of Winners to Promote winners via local media sources
●February 2024: Materials Preparation to Create stencils, scout locations, prepare paint to Hire Photographer and Videographer to archive the event
●Late March 2024: Installation to Paint the stenciled poems at the chosen locations via community participation
●April 2024: Public Celebration of the Poems to Celebrate the installation of the poems at their paint sitesoBegin construction of the print anthology for the poets
●May 2024: Final Recognition of Selected Poets at the JMAC to Public community event & recognition at Jean McDonough Arts Center to Include an edited video of the activity to provide each selected poet with a copy of a print anthology