'Poemball machine' showcases local poets at Provo cafe

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PROVO — At the Enliten Café on Center Street in Provo, you can get croissants, cookies, sandwiches and other edibles. But if you want something to really chew on, you can to put a quarter in the gumball machine in the corner of the store. Out pops something that’s sometimes sweet, sometimes not.

“This machine, what we call the ‘poemball machine,’ contains little capsules with short poems by local poets,” said Marianne Hales Harding, writer and a co-founder of Provo Poetry.

Hales Harding and poet Trish Hopkinson started Provo Poetry and were looking for ways to build community and an audience for local poets.

Harding, it turned out, had a gumball machine.

“Some of the things we really want to do with Provo poetry is to get poetry out into the community in creative ways where people aren't really expecting it to surprise them a little bit," Hopkinson said.

The poemball machine, populated by works from about 140 writers, has been a hit, they said. They’re about to fill it up with another batch of tiny poems. The poems are small, but pack a punch.

“That's the beauty of poetry — every single word is so purposeful," Hales Harding said.

“You're getting a lot for a quarter, absolutely,” Hopkinson said. “These poets put their please heart and soul into these into these poems and they're sharing them with the community.”

With more than 30 years in broadcast journalism, Peter is a skilled reporter, producer, and editor. He's won the National Press Photographers Association Reporting Award, as well as national NPPA editing and photography awards and six regional Emmys.

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