SANTA ROSA BEACH — Maria Schabla has realized sometimes all you have to do is speak and others will listen.
Maria and other members of the Say the Word poetry group are presenting “The Longest Night” Winter Solstice Celebration on Dec. 21 at The Hidden Lantern in Rosemary Beach.
“It’s the first time we'’ve ever done a poetry show featuring collaborative work by poets, artists and musicians,” said Maria, 33, who founded the group in the spring. “It’s going to be wild.”
Poets will be reading their work on stage, with art projected on a 9-by-5 screen and the curved white walls of Hidden Lantern and music playing in the background. Local artist Shank also will play during a musical intermission.
“It’s going to be really fun,” Maria said. “Ten poets will each be collaborating with a visual artist and musician.”
During the show, two artists will paint for a live auction to benefit BeGenerous, a local nonprofit serving women and children.
“They’re just a super awesome nonprofit that assists families in crisis,” Maria said. “It could be a house fire or a single mom who’s pregnant and needs something for the baby. … It’s connecting people who want to help the community with people who need the help.”
Each participating artist in The Longest Night also will donate art for a silent auction to benefit BeGenerous.
“Someone might identify with the poetry and want the painting,” Maria said.
And if you can identify with her broken heart from unrequited love, then maybe you, too, can heal through Maria’s poetry. Her “Blue Scarf” is just one of the chapbooks from local poets available at the Hidden Lantern.
“I started Say the Word in the spring, a poetry open mic,” Maria said. “I started it just because I’m a writer and started meeting a lot of writers who didn’t have a platform. … Basically, I’ve been creating this poetry community, encouraging others to have poetry chapbooks.”
Chapbooks are small self-published books of poetry. “Blue Scarf” is a collection of 11 poems, though other chapbooks have anywhere from 10 to 20 poems.
“What’s funny is I started this group, and I almost didn’t want to ready my own poetry. I’m shy myself,” Maria said. “I work full-time as a nurse and I do this on the side. It’s been really organic. It’s really neat to share and meet the community.”
Hidden Lantern’s name was inspired by C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” series, referencing the lamp post in the dark and frozen woods, a perfect setting for an evening of illumination and inspiration. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” might even begin to run through your mind … “Whose woods these are I think I know. …”
THE LONGEST NIGHT
Who: Say the Word poetry group (Facebook.com/saythewordpoetry)
What: Illuminating multi-media spoken word performance
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 21
Where: The Hidden Lantern Bookstore & Gallery, 84 N. Barrett Square, Rosemary Beach
Why: Winter solstice celebration benefits BeGenerous (BeGenerousInc.org)
Say the Word
The local poetry group hosts open mic nights at Buddha Lounge in Blue Mountain Beach. Poets perform original works, as well as poems that inspire them. To learn more, visit SayTheWordPoetry.com, Facebook.com/saythewordpoetry; or contact Maria Schabla at (850) 420-4139 or email@example.com.