On Friday, May 21 at 7 p.m., Left Bank Books will host a poetry reading from “Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days,” a new anthology edited by Rachel Zucker and Belfast poet Arielle Greenberg. The book store is located downtown at 21 East Main St./Route 1.

The collection began as a blog in response to a call the editors sent out to poets requesting original poems on assigned days during the critical first 100 days of President Obama’s term in office. While contemplating this project, Greenberg and Zucker wondered if they could get 100 poets to commit to writing a new poem during the first 100 carefully watched days of the new presidency It turns out they could; poets wrote back immediately and with gusto.

The results were published daily online at 100dayspoems.blogspot.com. As the blog evolved into a book, the decision was made to open with Elizabeth Alexander’s inaugural poem “Say it plain: that many have died for this day” and to continue with 99 other pieces by poets of all ages and geographic locations. These include Cornelius Eady, David Lehman, Mark Doty, as well as Greenberg and Belfast Poet Laureate Linda Buckmaster, both of whom will be at Left Bank Books to read from the collection and sign their poems.

The presidential election of 2008 was an historically significant moment, and reviewer Denise Duhamel wrote that ” ‘Starting Today’ will be an important cultural and historical document.” The contents vary in tone from the slyly earnest to the downright funny, from the hopeful to the highly politicized.

All are welcome to attend and enjoy looking back at the emotionally charged first days of this presidential administration. For more information or to reserve a copy of the book, call 548-6400.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.