JAMESTOWN -Prendergast Library will kick off the 2014 Big Read focusing on the poetry of Emily Dickinson at 7:30 p.m. on March 19, with a poetry slam.
Brandon Williamson, founder of Pure Ink Poetry Slam of Buffalo and an admissions counselor for SUNY Fredonia, will be in charge of the event.
Williamson was voted Best Poet of the Month last October at a Poetry Slam in downtown Toronto, and invited to be a guest on a Toronto radio show called "Nik Beat."
Brandon Williamson will host a poetry slam at Prendergast Library for the Jamestown launch of the 2014 Big Read featuring Emily Dickinson.
His Pure Ink Poetry Slam team earned first place honors in Rochester at a statewide Empire State Team Poetry Slam and became the first American team ever to win the Q.E.W. International Poetry Slam at the Burlington, Ont., Performing Arts Center in January.
"We hope the public will join us in Jamestown to have fun and get ready to enjoy another reading adventure together," Director Tina Scott said.
Each poet will present two poems, one by Emily Dickinson and one original work. Poems will be judged on a 10-point scale by five judges using score cards. First and second place T-shirt prizes will be awarded for the highest combined scores.
The Faculty Student Association will provide refreshments.
Other Big Read events scheduled at Prendergast Library are Download Classics, storytimes, family activities, and an all day book spine poetry activity. Details, dates and times are available at www.prendergastlibrary.org or on the library's March programming calendar at all public service desks.
"The purpose of the Big Read is to bring communities together through books, and these Jamestown events are a perfect example of that happening," according to Randy Gadikian, director of the Daniel A. Reed Library at the State University at Fredonia.
Other members of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System are also offering Big Read activities that are free and open to the public.
The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts managed by Arts Midwest, is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.
The Big Read comes to the region through a unique partnership between SUNY Fredonia and the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System, Fredonia faculty, staff and students, and the SUNY Fredonia Academic Community Engagement Center, along with the Erie I Board of Cooperative Education Services, local schools, the Fredonia Faculty Student Association, the Fredonia College Foundation and the Reg Lenna Center For The Arts.
Prendergast Library is located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown. For information about its events, call 484-7135.
Information is also available at www.fredonia.edu/bigread or neabigread.org.