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.
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