RANDOLPH (AP) -- More than 50 shops in the Vermont town of Randolph are featuring poems among spring sale advertisements on their windows this month.

The idea was inspired by a similar effort called "PoemCity" in Montpelier, said event organizer and Democratic Rep. Marjorie Ryerson of Randolph.

"I really wanted to open the door on poetry as a topic and have everybody enjoy it and be less afraid of it," she told Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1mVAetK).

When she’s not working in the legislature, Ryerson teaches poetry.

Shannon Stoddard of Sidewalk Florist felt the promotion was a boon for businesses.

"Anything to get people to stop and look in your window and stand at your window and interact with your storefront, even if it’s reading somebody else’s poetry is good enough," Stoddard said.

Larry Hart of the local NAPA store said some passers-by have stopped to read the poems in his window, although others just want an oil change. But Hart thinks the event spotlights local talent.

"There’s a lot of creativity in this town," Hart said. "It’s an honor to have them out there."

The poems in "PoemTown" are written mostly by residents in central Vermont and will be featured throughout the month. There also will be a series of events by published poets and an open mic night at which any Vermont poets may read their work.


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On Thursday, award-winning poets Pamela Harrison of Norwich and Samn Stockwell of Marshfield will be at Main Street Bakery in Randolph at 7 p.m. The "open mic" night will be at White River Craft Center on April 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.