Event to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Black History Month


Lawrence North High School junior Kye Benford will lend his voice to a special night celebrating poetry, love and art.

CIG COM 0207 poetry event Benford pic

Benford will read two of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poems, “Invitation to Love” and “A Negro Love Song,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at an event called Hoosier (H)Arts at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, 1230 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis. The event is designed to be a night of love, poetry, art and music celebrating Valentine’s Day, Black History Month and a few of Indiana’s up-and-coming poets.

“While I am fond of poetry, I don’t consider it to be the biggest thing in my life,” Benford said. “I do respect poets who are able to craft very meaningful stories in their poems while being open to interpretation at the same time.”

CIG COM 0207 poetry night Ndiaye head shot

The evening will begin in the welcome center, where wine and nonalcoholic beverages, hors d’oeuvres and live music will be provided.  Those in attendance will then move into the residence, where they will hear a live reading of a selection of moving Civil War love letters between Benjamin and Caroline Scott Harrison, poetry written by some of the nation’s most prominent Black poets, and readings by Indiana’s top poets.

Jayna Ndiaye, a Lawrence resident and poet, will read two poems by another poet. Laura E. Scheele, a Fishers resident, will be reading her own poems.

CIG COM 0207 poetry night Sheele head shot

“I am a poet disguised as a stay-at-home mom in the suburbs,” Scheele said. “I will be reading one piece from my collaborative poetry anthology ‘Bouquet of Stars.’ I will also be reading four other pieces I have written over the past few years on the theme of romance, since it is Valentine’s weekend. I am excited that this event is putting the spotlight on poetry, since Benjamin Harrison was a big fan and a writer himself, but I also think this will be a unique experience to hear local poets showcase their work in spoken form. It is one thing to read a poem to yourself, but a completely different experience to hear a poet read their work the way they meant for it to be read. It takes on a new potency.”

For more, visit bhpsite.org/visit/candlelight-theatre/tickets.