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It’s essential to have a good place to meet and something you must consider when you start your group. It will depend on what your plan is: just critique, writing together, presentations about all the facets of writing, editing and publishing.

We meet at one of the branch libraries and it has been a great place for us to meet. We have a large enough room for the group, access to a flat screen and the internet for programs or projects, appearance on the calendar and support for programs or presentations we want to make.

Last week they had a special presentation. They invited poets from our group and others to submit poems then they gave them to artists to interpret. The project extended over five months and then the poems and art were displayed together and the public was invited to come and see the results. It was an amazing outcome. Artists and poets were excited to meet and see the results and a good number of partroms enjoyed the exhibition. Now we all look forward to next year when the program will be reversed. As a poet I welcome the challenge.

Here is a picture of me with the artist who interpreted my poem “Mother’s Hands” followed by the poem.claire & Chris Mother's Hands



We sit, unmoving

I hold her hand in mine

Grasp her warm fingers

My grasp is not returned

Once those fingers tightly held my hand

Guided me, protected me

Now they lie motionless


Soft and warm, these gentle hands

Once caressed my cheek with tenderness

They will never caress another cheek or

Throw a softball,

Hold her rolling pin

Roll egg noodle dough thin enough to see through

Now her grasp is weak and she can barely bring her cup to her lips.


She asks me to put lotion on her face

This women has diapered the bottoms of eight children

Held them close and cuddled them

Washed dirty faces myriad times

Held a book of poetry and read to each one

Carried pails of water up hill to wash their clothes

Now she asks me to put lotion on her face


In the Day Room the other residents are having a party

August is ending and they celebrate those born in this hot, muggy month

White haired women clap their hands

Old men with stained trousers nod their heads

Balloons and streamers decorate the walls

Glowing with candles a grand cake is brought for all to share

Now I listen to “Red River Valley” tears stream down my cheeks.


I want to rescue her from this place

Steal her away in the night

Find some miracle hidden in the darkness

I lift my hand and wipe my cheek

Not wanting her to know I weep

Clap as the musician ends his song

Now I sigh, smile and hold her hand securely in mine

©Christine J. Howard 2008