200th anniversary of classic novel inspires Zionsville library’s Frankenslam poetry event


By Heather Lusk

Mary Shelley’s classic “Frankenstein” was written after a group of poets led by Lord Byron shared ghost stories to pass the time.

It’s a process Adam Henze intends to replicate at Frankenslam, a poetry-creating opportunity presented by Brick Street Poetry from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 17 at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library.

Henze studies an art form called poetry slam as a doctoral student at Indiana University. A poetry slam is a type of poetry competition where artists create and recite their original pieces.

“To me, Byron’s challenge sounds like a poetry slam,” he said. “They challenged Mary Shelley, and it created one of the greatest books of all time.”


The program is funded by Indiana Humanities through a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will fund programs inspired by “Frankenstein” all year in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Shelley’s classic novel.

Henze has led many interactive writing workshops throughout Indiana, but this is the first time he’s incorporated “Frankenstein” as inspiration.

During Frankenslam, Henze will share 200 years of “Frankenstein”-themed poetry in 30 minutes, followed by a poetry-creating workshop for participants.

For those shy about sharing their poetry, Henze harkens to Shelley, who was an unknown teenager when “Frankenstein” was published.

“My suggestion is to just try. You don’t have to be right in a poem,” he said. “I’m always really interested in how poetry really scares people.”

“Frankenslam is about really tapping into fear, and what scares us or frightens us,” he said, adding that some poetry might be thoughtful while others could be silly.

“That’s what I like about poetry is, it can be as deep as you want it to be,” Henze said.

Required registration is available at zionsvillelibrary.org


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