Students from across Iowa and professional poets from around the world are meeting today for the start of the “Des Moines National Poetry Festival.” Organizers say the three-day festival aims to celebrate and promote poetry. Luanne O’Shea says the fest is designed to inject poetry into the lives of the general public and to inspire young people to take up the art. One event Saturday morning will zero in on students of many ages. O’Shea says around 35 students will attend, ranging from fifth grade to college aged students.O’Shea says professional poets from Ireland, Yugoslavia and the U-S will be visiting schools and workplaces in addition to performing at the Des Moines Art Center along with Iowa poets and Iowa student-poets. O’Shea says the 11th annual festival includes poetry that ranges from Shakespeare to Doctor Seuss and everything in between. All events through Saturday night are free. Among people reading their favorite poems at the events: Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson, Drake Women’s Basketball Coach Lisa Stone, Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell, and Dr. Paula Mahone, who delivered the McCaughey septuplets in 1997.
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