Cows to inspire poetry during Slow Living Expo


BRATTLEBORO -- As an intern involved in her first Strolling of the Heifers, SIT graduate student Kristen Fledderjohn developed a new event called "Cow Poetry."

"It's a cow collaboration," she said. "There are real live animals. The idea is to think about refrigerator magnet poetry then think about alphabet soup and how all the words are formed out of the letters then mix that with cows."

Words will be placed on cows that will be walking around the Brattleboro Common by the gazebo. And participants will make poetry out of those words.

The event will be held around 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, during the Slow Living Expo after the parade. Fledderjohn expects the poetry session to go for 20 to 30 minutes.

"Poetry may or may not form before your eyes," she added. "For people in town that feel creative or have artistic license ability, they can use the words and create poems or sentences, kind of choosing their own alphabet soup."

For others, a mad lib activity referred to as "Mad Cow Lib" will be made available through a collaboration with students from Putney School. In preparing for the event, they have looked at what would be the best mix of words and just how those words will be put on the cows.

Participants will be told whether a noun, adjective or verb is needed for a particular sentence and the mad lib will be filled out. Scrap paper and pencils will be handed out, however, people are encouraged to have their own writing utensil handy in case.

People can also get involved by making their own poems and writing on Twitter using the hashtag: #Stroll2014.

There will be a microphone where poems and sentences will be read. The event will occur around the same time that cows are judged for the beauty pageant known as Miss Vermoont.

"People can get up close and pet them from outside the circle," Fledderjohn said.

The event was developed when she began having conversations with various people involved in the Strolling of the Heifers. She said she is crossing her fingers that "Cow Poetry" will work out well.

"And if it doesn't, then you can just blame it on the intern," she laughed.

Organizers may bring back the celebrity milking contest that was previously held on the day of the parade if "Cow Poetry" doesn't pan out. Gov. Peter Shumlin was one of the celebrities.

Fledderjohn is in her second phase of SIT graduate classes and the internship was part of her requirements for a master of arts in intercultural service leadership and management.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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