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Library releases collection of voices from the city

Date: 8/25/2009

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- This spring, for the fifth year, the Springfield Cultural Council funded a writing program at the City Library on State Street. Rather than keep the works written there private, the pieces related to the city were collected and released in "Write On, Springfield! Voices Echo Throughout Our City."

Anna Brandenburg, the project director and program coordinator/training librarian, said she was looking for writings that "tell untold stories, introduce new perspectives and celebrate our city, its history, culture and/or inhabitants."

The 40 pieces of prose and verse collected in "Write On, Springfield!" tell those stories. They tell of what it's like to see an old high school boarded up, noticing the myriad bird species native to the area, what it was like growing up in Sixteen Acres and even what it's like being a "white Puerto Rican" on the city streets.

"You hear a lot of bad things about Springfield. It gets a bad rap," Crystal Senter Brown, a self-described "poet/singer/ author/maniac" and host of the library's Poetry in the Park programs. "I call Springfield home. It has a lot to offer."

Lifelong resident Jane Schneelock had similar sentiments. Her piece in the collection, "Tech 2003," was a written ode to her alma mater.

"I write. It's one of the things I do," she told Reminder Publications. "I've written a lot about Springfield, especially Forest Park. One day I just started writing about my school."

Schneelock fondly remembers Mrs. Tabackman from the old Tech High in her submission for the collection, and mentions that she still has the notebook from her English class.

"I like to promote the city and its schools," she said. "I live in a lovely neighborhood with lovely neighbors. There are so many wonderful things here."

"Write On, Springfield!" was released last Wednesday at the Poetry in the Park event as children ran around the sculptures of Horton and Thing 1 and Thing 2, creations of hometown literary hero Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel.

The childrens' screams of joy and the setting summer sun served as a perfect backdrop for the words of writers inspired by the City of Homes.

Writers who are featured in "Write On, Springfield!" will be featured on the Aug. 31 broadcast of the WTTC 90.7 FM radio show "Flava," hosted by Darryl Moss from 8 to 9 p.m.

Selected pieces from the collection will also be on display in the entrance of City Hall during the month of September.

For more information on "Write On, Springfield!" log on to