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A Love Poem to Bradenton

Is there anything more charming than writing a love poem to a city? Probably not, but one thing we can think of is hearing that poem performed live – read by the poet, a local actor & entrepreneur, and an 11-year-old.

The Bradenton Public Market was the site of the recent unveiling, if you will, of “To Realize Bradenton,” an ode to the community we all love. The author of the poem, Joanna Fox, along with Travis Ray and 11-year-old Gloria Ferrer took part in the public performance. Joanna authored the poem using community input through a survey distributed by Realize Bradenton; Travis is a local actor who works at West Coast Black Theater and owns Dapper Bowtique, a bow tie business; and Gloria is a precocious 11-year-old who professes love for the city’s rich history and architecture and who decided it was a “really cool poem” and “a neat thing to be a part of.”

The Community Poem is part of a suite of elements that make up the “Love This City Bradenton” campaign, an eight-month celebration of all things Bradenton. Fox was given responses to a survey asking residents what they love about this community. “I received pages of lines from people about what Bradenton meant to them. And I let the strongest lines to me percolate to the surface.”

The poem points out a quirky trick of the language – referring to the same word as both a noun and a verb. The poem was written at the behest of Realize Bradenton – referring to the nonprofit, a noun – and is entitled “To Realize Bradenton” … a verb to which we should all aspire.

Fox, who has been in Bradenton for nearly 40 years and who walks the Riverwalk most mornings, continued, “When you’re in love with somebody you want to be with them all day long – what is it in the morning that you love about them and in the evening and all throughout the day? There’s something that Bradenton has for everybody all day long, and it’s just waiting for you to find it. When I was reading the lines people sent, I kept saying ‘yes, that’s it!’”

“Yes, that’s it” came with lines about dolphins, the Village of the Arts, skateboarders, the crack of the bat and, of course, the Manatee River.

Travis offered: “I love that this poem is about community and collaboration. I love the art and the people here.” Gloria added “the architecture adds a neat historical vibe here.”

Yes, we agree, that’s it!

Read the entire poem here.

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