For the first time, the South Florida State College (SFSC) Library, Avon Park Public Library, Lake Placid Public Library, and Sebring Public Library have joined forces to celebrate National Poetry Month.

During the month of April, the libraries will feature poetry readings by published poets, two open mic. nights, and a celebration of National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Each event will be held at a library located in Highlands County and is open to the public at no cost.

The celebration hopes to engage students, staff, faculty, and community members in the national celebration of the poetic form, as well as encourage creativity and artistic expression.

On Tuesday, April 7, 5 – 6 p.m., Dorothy Howe Brooks will share poems and stories from her 2013 book, “A Fine Dusting of Brightness” at SFSC’s Library, located in Building Y, Highlands Campus. Brooks was recently published in the Cumberland River Review, is featured on www.artpoems.org, and more information on her can be found at www.dorothybrooks.org.

Poets and readers of all ages are invited to Open Mic Night on Thursday, April 16, 5 – 6 p.m., at SFSC’s Library, located in Building Y, Highlands Campus. Participants will have the opportunity to read their own original poems or share a favorite in a celebration of poetry and creativity. Participants are asked to limit their readings to three minutes or less and to use family friendly language.

Make sure to join Melanie Hubbard on Wednesday, April 22, when she reads from her 2012 book that won the 2011 Subito Book Prize in Poetry, “We Have With us Your Sky.” Hubbard will be at the Avon Park Library, 3 – 4 p.m., and at SFSC’s Library, located in Building Y, Highlands Campus, 5 – 6 p.m. Hubbard’s painted erasure poems were featured in Best American Experiential Writing 2014, and her first chapbook, Gilbi Winco Swags, was published by Cannibal Books in 2008. For more information on Hubbard’s 2011 Subito Book Prize, visit http://www.subitopress.org/hubbard.

Peter Gordon will read from his 2012 book, “Two Car Garage,” on Tuesday April 28, 5 – 6 p.m., at SFSC’s Library, located in Building Y, Highlands Campus. Gordon’s poems have appeared in publications including Slipstream34th ParallelProvo Canyon Review, and The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Journal of Florida Literature. He also serves as President of Orlando Area Poets, a chapter of the Florida State Poets Association, and leads workshops for the Florida Writer’s Association.

The Lake Placid Public Library will host a second Open Mic Night for poets and readers of all ages on Thursday, April 16, 3 – 4 p.m. Participants are encouraged to share an original or favorite poem, or two, that’s family friendly and under three minutes long.

Finish celebrating National Poetry Month with Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 30, by carrying and sharing a poem with your friends, family, neighbors, or on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem. Pick up and share poems at the SFSC Highlands Library, Avon Park Public Library, Lake Placid Public Library, or Sebring Public Library. For more information on Poem in Your Pocket Day, visit http://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/poem-your-pocket-day.

National Poetry Month is sponsored by the SFSC Library, SFSC Foundation, Inc., Friends of the Avon Park Public Library, Lake Placid Public Library, and Sebring Public Library. For more information, contact Claire A. Miller, SFSC librarian, at 863-784-7305 or email millerc@southflorida.edu.