Noblesville poets contribute to Bicentennial book

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By Mark Ambrogi

Alice, left, and Mary Couch. (Submitted photo)

Alice, left, and Mary Couch. (Submitted photo)

Three Noblesville poets took a turn at writing a collaborative poem for a poetry book celebrating Indiana.

The book, “Mapping the Muse,” is 98 pages long and is endorsed by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission as a Bicentennial Legacy Project.

Mary Couch and her 88-year-old mother Alice Couch, of Noblesville, combined with others on a collaborative poem on Indiana State Parks.

There were nine poets who contributed to the poem, including Marlene Million, another Noblesville resident.

The book was released Dec. 4. There are 59 counties represented by poets. Barry Harris, a co-founder of Brick Street Poetry and an editor of the book, said some of the poems are about a particular county and others are about life in Indiana.

Joyce Brinkman, another Brick Street Poetry co-founder and the first official Indiana State Poet Laureate, wrote the first stanza of the State Parks poem and sent it to next poet along with the State Park they were to write about.

The Couches and Million are members of Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs.

“Since all poets have their own unique style, we worked to blend our voices together,” Mary said. “My mother and I found the experience a fun challenge and delighted in the finished poem. Combined together our interpretation of each park showed the hidden facets in the world around us. Everyone had a great time creating the poem, and Barry Harris did a fantastic job putting photos of the different parks next to each stanza. The book turned out very well as a tribute to the Indiana Bicentennial.

“Marlene, mom and I enjoyed it so much that we wrote another collaborative poem about fairies.” The poem is called “Fairy Mist.”

Million, who previously lived in Chesterton, wrote about the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for her part in the parks poem. Mary’s poem was on Turkey Run and Alice wrote about Brown County.

“I enjoyed working on this collaboration and couldn’t wait to see the completed poem,” Million said. “At each poet’s turn to write their State Park quatrain, we had to use an italicized word from the previous quatrain.”

Two Westfield residents also made poetry contributions to the book. Steve Roberts wrote a poem, called “County Fair.” Shari Wagner wrote a four-line stanza for a collaborative poem about Indiana’s rivers, titled “Following the Rivers’ Flow.” She wrote a poem about the Elkhart River since she was born in Goshen. Wagner will begin a two-year term as Indiana State Poet Laureate on Jan. 1.

The book will be available through brickstreetpoetry.org and Black Dog Books, 115 S. Main St., Zionsville.

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