CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina poet Jeffery Beam, whose work has been hailed for its “transcendent, lush beauty, its . . . simplicity and physicality,” will offer a poetry reading at 3 p.m. Sunday at the N.C. Botanical Garden.
“Bee – I’m Expecting You” is Beam’s celebration of the pollinator responsible for every third bite of food we eat. The reading includes part of Beam’s art-song cycle “Life of the Bee,” created in collaboration with composer Lee Hoiby and premiering in 2002 at the N.C. Literary Festival and at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall.
“After writing poems to bees for years, I began to investigate and collect bee poems written by others,” says Beam. “If you attend this reading you will hear poems from ancient Egypt, and poems from Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and others as well as my own.”
The poetry reading culminates a week of celebrating the role of pollinators. National Pollinator Week at the North Carolina Botanical Garden includes a workshop on Creating a Pollinator Garden on Thursday; a Summer Wildflowers and Pollinators Tour on Saturday; and Beam’s reading on Sunday. Registration is required for all events and there is a small registration fee for some. Information on “Bee—I’m Expecting You” and other events is available at ncbg.unc.edu/calendar/ .
Pollination is a vital stage in the life cycle of all flowering plants and thus is necessary for healthy and productive native and agricultural ecosystems. The N.C. Botanical Garden aims to promote appreciation of pollinators – which include bees, butterflies, beetles, birds, bats and other small mammals – and awareness of the fact that many pollinator populations are in decline. Pollinator decline is attributed most severely to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, and gardening with native plants can help ameliorate these losses. Pollution, the misuse of chemicals, disease, and changes in climatic patterns are also contributing to shrinking and shifting pollinator populations.