History of Friends of Poetry, Inc.
In 1976, the Vietnam War ended, Bill Gates and Paul Allen tossed Microsoft into the world, Jaws ripped through theaters, and Martha Moffett founded Friends of Poetry in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The organization obtained its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in 1984. Since its inception, Friends of Poetry has been a powerful force fostering the enjoyment of the reading and writing of poetry throughout the greater Kalamazoo community.
Friends of Poetry initially held a “Poetry on the Buses” contest limited to eight line poems: a size dictated by their display on placards on city buses. Friends of Poetry soon began exploring new ways to reach the community, and poems soon traveled beyond the streets. In 1987, the first Poems That Ate Our Ears was held. Now considered the longest running kids’ poetry contest in Michigan, “The Poems That Ate Our Ears” is open to students aged 4 to 18 in Southwest Michigan.
Through readings, workshops, contests, and special events, Friends of Poetry remains dedicated to bringing people and poetry together.
Elizabeth Kerlikowske, President
Deborah Gang, Vice President
Melanie Dunbar, Secretary
Tom Swartz, Treasurer
Your memberships connects you with the larger poetry community in the Kalamazoo area and helps us reach out to others with the transformative power of poetry. Our members are poetry readers, writers, and enthusiasts. Membership is inclusive and eclectic in its tastes. All share one overriding goal: to foster the enjoyment of the reading and writing of poetry. Our projects are funded by grants and individual donations from caring people just like you.