JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When Jacksonville, Florida, poet Kay B. Day ( read at the South Carolina Book Festival in February, she struck up a conversation with poet Patricia Gray. Ms. Gray is coordinator of Poetry at Noon, a regular reading series at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. “We were just talking about poetry,” Day says. “The idea of a Florida poetry reading came up.”

Day submitted a formal proposal for a program, “Florida Poets Arrive.” She suggested two other poets, Dorothy K. Fletcher of Jacksonville and Roselyn Y. Cole of St. Augustine. Day suggested the poets because their work features poems about life in the Sunshine State. “We write about different areas in Florida,” Day explains. “Our poems run the gamut, from the Northeast area all the way to the Keys.”

Each poet has a diverse body of work published widely in books, print and online media. Day’s latest collection A Poetry Break (Ocean Publishing) won top prize in the Florida Writer’s Association book contest in the poetry category, and the book was also nominated by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as poetry book of the year for 2005. The book was also a finalist in the USA Book News contest. A number of poems in the book won individual awards like the ByLine National Literary Award for Poetry.

“I was thrilled to be able to facilitate this reading,” says Day, a self-employed journalist who freelances for a number of publications. Her work appears in The Writer, Christian Science Monitor, Florida Times Union and many other magazines, newspapers, and books.

Fletcher is equally enthusiastic, explaining, “When my 83-year old uncle became extremely excited about my reading at the Library of Congress, I knew I had arrived. This reading opportunity is quite an exciting event for me.” Fletcher recently won the Robert Frost Poetry Contest sponsored by the Heritage Museum in Key West. Her most recent collection is Zen Fishing and Other Southern Pleasures (Ocean Publishing). In addition to freelancing, Fletcher has taught English and writing in Jacksonville’s public schools for 35 years.

“I’m honored to be asked to read,” says Cole. The veteran performer has presented her poetry around the world, a result of her love of travel. Her latest collection is Poetry by Rize and Other Stories I Never Told You. Rize’s career, other than writing, involved consulting in the social work field.

The poets are professional members of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. Day is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“During my book tour, I presented poetry to over 2,000 people, from Texas to Maui,” Day notes. “Ironically, I’ve never presented at my hometown library festival here in Jacksonville, but it’s hard to beat the Library of Congress in Washington.”

Programs like Florida Poets Arrive are part of Day’s mission to take poetry to the streets. “I do a variety of presentations on different writing topics,” she says, “but my favorite is poetry. It just resonates with people in a way no other genre seems to.” She says friends and colleagues often call her a poetry warrior. Day promises a lively reading. “We’re not the sort of poets who read in a monotone,” she says.

Florida Poets Arrive will be held at the Library of Congress at 12 noon on Tuesday, December 5, 2006, in the Mary Pickford Theater, 3rd floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., in Washington, D. C. The public is invited; the event is free.

More information about Kay B. Day:

[tags]Kay Day, South Carolina Book Festival, Florida Poets Arrive, Library of Congress poetry reading[/tags]