Poetry nights take Root in Temple

Brian Evans-Jones welcomes the crowd to Poetry at the Root. 

Brian Evans-Jones welcomes the crowd to Poetry at the Root.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Poets Tim Coutis, left, and Armando Del Rio applaud a fellow poet at The Root in Temple. 

Poets Tim Coutis, left, and Armando Del Rio applaud a fellow poet at The Root in Temple.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Irene Baker reads her poetry at the Poetry at the Root event in May. 

Irene Baker reads her poetry at the Poetry at the Root event in May.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

A full house attends Poetry at the Root in May.

A full house attends Poetry at the Root in May. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Poet Curtis Hines reads to the group. 

Poet Curtis Hines reads to the group.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Brian Evans-Jones welcomes poets and audience members to Poetry at the Root in May. 

Brian Evans-Jones welcomes poets and audience members to Poetry at the Root in May.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Brian Evans-Jones, founder of Poetry at the Root, introduces the evening’s poets. 

Brian Evans-Jones, founder of Poetry at the Root, introduces the evening’s poets.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

The Root Cafe in Temple. 

The Root Cafe in Temple.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Music by Graveyard Soup opened the May poetry open mic night at The Root in Temple. 

Music by Graveyard Soup opened the May poetry open mic night at The Root in Temple.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger Transcript

Published: 06-05-2024 12:04 PM

Poetry at the Root began with a quest for vegetables.

“My wife stopped by The Root Cafe to get some vegetables, and she came home and said, ‘That would be a wonderful place to have a poetry night,”  said Brian Evans-Jones, founder of the monthly open mic night for poets at The Root Cafe in Temple. “It’s such a warm and welcoming location.” 

The monthly poetry night takes place every third Thursday of the month from 6:30 t0 8 p.m. There is no charge to participate. 

The Root, located at 93 State Road 101 in Temple, is a “garden-to-table” family owned restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. When Evans-Jones, who lives in Sharon, brought up the idea of hosting an open mic night dedicated to poetry, the team at The Root was “willing to give a try.” Since then, the event has become a staple for the region’s poets and writers, with a consistent group of 20 to 30 attendees. While The Root is closed during the open mic night, the cafe sometimes offers dinner for sale during poetry night, announcing it before the event on its Facebook page. 

Evans-Jones and his family, including his wife and two young children, moved to the Monadnock region in 2021 from southern Maine.

“We have really embraced the nature surrounding us in Sharon,” Evans-Jones said. 

Since launching in 2022, Poetry at the Root has seen more than 100 different poets reading over the course of the past year and a half. 

“My intention, my hope, was to create community in poetry, whether people wanted to read their favorite poems by other writers or poems they had written themselves,” Evans-Jones said. “It was also very important that we had an audience of people who really want to listen.” 

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Evans-Jones is a professional poetry teacher, award-winning poet, and former poet laureate of his native Hampshire, in the UK. He is the founder of writebetterpoems.com, a website for “every poet who wants to learn, but who doesn’t want to do full-time study, or even part-time, for year after year.” Evans-Jones blogs on multiple topics in poetry, including haiku, learning meter, and “how to get started.” 

Evans-Jones has been happy to see the range of poets who come to Poetry at the Root. 

“We have had everything from people who have just started writing and sharing their poems in public for the first to published and award-winning authors. It has been wonderful to see so many people taking the risk to share their work,” Evans-Jones said. 

Poets who have read at The Root include Rodger Martin of Harrisville,  who was recently awarded the Stanley Kunitz Medal by the Worcester County Poetry Association; Henry Walters of Dublin, whose most recent work is “The Nature Thief;” and spoken word artist Andy Hannah.

The poetry night also features live local music to start the evening off and in between sets of poets. 

While participants do not have to register ahead of time, Evans-Jones said people are welcome to email him at brian@brianevansjones.com in advance of the event to get on the list, or are welcome to sign up when arrive. Evans-Jones said “the timing has always worked out,” with the event running about an hour-and-a-half, with music and an intermission. 

“We have only run out of time once,” he said. “If we  have low numbers, I say, ‘Take as long as you want.’ Usually we have enough that people can just do their poems without worrying about a time limit.”

Evans-Jones said, “It works out best if people don’t try to explain their poems.” 

 “I do ask people to keep introductions short, and to keep discussion short,” Evans-Jones said. “The poems speak for themselves.” 

For information about Poetry at the Root and Evans-Jones’ other poetry events, go to writebetterpoems.com.

To learn more about The Root cafe in Temple, go to theroottemple.com