CROSBY -- Decked out in his worn-out Sorel boots, fur-lined musher's hat, wool pants and green suspenders, Ed Dallas embodies the style of a true poet.
Yep. You read that right.
Dallas dressed up in his finest northwoods attire Thursday night for the second community poetry reading at Letty's Coffee, Gifts and Books shop in downtown Crosby. About 20 children and adults attended the reading, many hoping to hear their own words woven into each poem.
Dallas and Joan Prefontaine, both of Deerwood, and Stu Tufford, Crosby, are attempting to spark a poetry movement in Crosby by hosting these community poetry nights, which are scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. It's an attempt to get people excited about poetry.
All three are members of the Heartland Poets chapter of the League of Minnesota Poets. Prefontaine is also one of 33 poets living in Minnesota who were recently published in the book, "33 Minnesota Poets."
The premise behind the community poetry is simple. Each customer who buys something at Letty's is offered the opportunity to post a word on the word list under the title of a potential poem. Then when the word list grows long enough, the poets write a poem using every word posted by customers at the coffee shop.
Some difficult words the poet laureates of Letty's have had to use include: Timbuktu, eructation and amidinotransberace. Somehow they managed to use them all.
The first poetry reading was held the night of a major January snowstorm, so on Thursday Dallas read all the poems the group has written so far. The poems included these crazy titles: "I Never Did Trust My Compass," "When The Cows Go To The Neighbors," "Oatmeal Saved Our Marriage," "Snoose Juice and Barbecue" and "It Shouldn't Roll That Far."
"This is a hoot," said Tufford. "This is really fun."
Dallas said the group hopes to develop a Web site for its poetry, as well as publish booklets quarterly or a couple of times a year that can be purchased for a small fee so people can see the words they donated in print. Homespun characters and fictional places are starting to emerge from their self-described blend of "backwoods, barrel stove" poetry.
"It'll be fun as long as people keep posting words," said Dallas. "It's starting to take on a life of its own."
Poets can also stop by Letty's and create a magnetic poem. The best poem, or the best "catch" found in the "live box" will be added to the "stringer."
The poet with the best poem selected by the poetry wardens -- Dallas, Prefontaine and Tufford -- will win a free drink at Letty's.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.