While February may be the shortest month of the year, it is jam-packed with commemorative initiatives on both a global and local scale. Internationally, women's history is celebrated, nationally black history is commemorated, and locally, we look to the Brunswick past.

This month, the town of Brunswick hosts Longfellow Days, an annual series of events. Cultural programs will honor the renowned Bowdoin alumnus, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, class of 1825.

In a series of lectures, presentations, poetry readings, tours and demonstrations hosted by various institutions in Brunswick and surrounding towns, this year's Longfellow Days will celebrate the local, modern crafts person.

Entitled "Longfellow and the Maine Crafts Tradition: Virtue, Independence, and Equality," the featured venues praise the patriotic values embodied by the vocational artisan.

Committee member Robert Jarratt '64 said the event is "devoted to the artisans who were championed by Longfellow in his poetry."

A product of the Brunswick Downtown Association and Bowdoin College, Lonfellow Days is sponsored by the Nathaniel Davis Fund, the Senter Fund and the Association of Bowdoin Friends.

From blacksmiths to woodworkers, yarn-weaving to fiber-making, this year's events champion a wide range of artisans.

Claudia Knox, who is in charge of publicity, believes the "Voice of the Foreign Pastures," hosted by Frontier Café will be of particular interest to Bowdoin students.

Next Thursday, February 10, at 6:30 p.m., world traveler Linda Cortright will speak about the cultural and environmental issues regarding the natural fiber industry.

Cortright will tell a story of "adventure of travel to remote areas and learning about the survival there which depends in part upon the extraordinary species of animals raised for their fibers," as Knox said.

The event will tie the interests of crafts tradition to environmental sustainability.

Fiber arts are a large focus this year. In "Diagonal Knitting: A Different Slant," artist and author Katharine Cobey will speak about knitting on Saturday, February 12 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Maine Fiberarts Gallery.

Additionally, artist Ruth Monsell will fashion silhouette keepsakes next weekend.

Tours of historical Maine sites are yet another feature of Longfellow Days. "Kennebec Company Workshop Tour" will showcase cabinetry in the Wing Farm Parkway in Bath. "Stem to Stern" architectural tours of First Parish Church, designed by Richard Upjohn, are offered February 12 from 1 to 3 p.m.

"Tours of Longfellow's Home at the Joshua Chamberlain House" will take place on Sunday, February 27.

According to Maryli Tiemann, this year's chair, Longfellow Days is also a commemoration of the written word, and poetry is a large focus.

Each Sunday afternoon between February 6 and February 20, the Curtis Memorial Library will host poetry readings in its Fireplace Room at 1 p.m.

"These are brilliant opportunities to hear local published poets read from their work and share conversation with the audience and one another," explained Tiemann.

In the past, a wide array of community members leant their voices to the poetry readings, including farmers, high school students, social workers, teachers and retirees.

This year Tiemann hopes to see more involvement from the Bowdoin community, and believes poetry can serve as the meaningful bridge between students and community members.

"We have wanted to see Bowdoin students in attendance, but haven't," said Tiemann. "Bowdoin is not only a huge part of our community, it is also a major part of Longfellow's life."

"Having an opportunity to hear Bowdoin students read their work and join in this event would be a real celebration of Longfellow's birthday," added Tiemann.

"We just love it when groups of students walk over to Curtis Library for our Sunday afternoon poetry readings by successful Maine poets," said Knox. "These are really inspired afternoons in the fireplace room and we do serve coffee and cookies. The ambiance is so warm and informal and there's lots of opportunity to chat and to mingle."

The events will end on Longfellow's birthday, Sunday, February 27. At 6:30 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church, author and knitter Robin Hansen will read from her new book, "Ice Harbor Mittens." Following the book reading, Gary Lawless will host an open poetry reading.

The event seems to be a logical conclusion of the celebration of Longfellow, a man both renowned for his poetry and intimately involved with the cultural heritage of the Brunswick community.

For a more comprehensive list of events, visit the Bowdoin News website.

An homage to American culture and craftsmanship, the events begin February 6 and will last until February 27.

All events are open to the public for nominal fees.