PARKERSBURG — To commemorate National Poetry Month, the Emerson Avenue branch of the Wood County Public Library is offering a special day of readings and writing workshops from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Six poets from Ohio and West Virginia are participating: David Prather and Sherrell Wigal of Wood County; Sean Kelbley, Stephanie Kendrick, Wendy McVicker and Bonnie Proudfoot of Athens and Meigs counties.
National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by the American Academy of Poets to encourage the reading and writing of poetry and to bring poetry into classrooms and libraries, especially in April.
The 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. program will begin with presentations and readings of works by each poet, followed by a Q&A session. The poets’ books will be available for purchase and signed.
The 1-3pm program will offer attendees their choice of two one-hour workshops from 1-2pm and 2-3pm where poets will present writing prompts and discuss ideas for sparking their own poetry writing or even develop ideas for fiction or memoirs.
No previous experience is required and participants can bring their own high-tech or low-tech writing tools for the afternoon writing sessions.
For more information or to reserve a spot for the readings and workshops, contact Jeanne Michie, ILL Coordinator at the Emerson Avenue Branch of the Wood County Public Library, 304 420-4587 ext. 517.
The topics of the workshops are:
* “Ekphrastic Poetry – Getting Started” presented by Kelbley, where participants will explore visual art as a springboard to writing.
* “Back to basics” presented by Kendrick, where participants will participate in a quick free-writing exercise and come away with beginning poems and be fully equipped with the tools necessary to meet 2022 submission goals.
* “Letters Poems” presented by McVicker where participants will examine letter poems, whimsical or serious, and begin their own.
* “Myth and Memory and the Other Life” presented by Prather, where participants can stretch their poetic voice as they explore fault and fantasy, revealing parts of ourselves that can only exist by exploring our memory errors or our “lies” of persona.
* “Food, wonderful food” presented by Proudfoot, who will examine a variety of delicious and delectable food poems and generate writing that uses food as a starting point.
* “Assembly required” presented by Wigal. The workshop will focus on the necessary elements “tools” to write poems and will include practical writing exercises as well as a group discussion.
*Kelbley lives in Meigs County and works as an elementary school counselor in Athens City Schools. Her ekphrastic poetry has been recognized in competitions at RATTLE, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Still: The Journal and has appeared in One (Jacar Press) and Tipton Poetry Journal, among others.
* Kendrick is the author of Places We Feel Warm (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2021), publisher of “Periodic Poetry”, and co-host of the Athens County Thursday Night Open Mic. His poems have appeared in Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Gyroscope Review, Northern Appalachia Review, Poets Reading the News, Spill: The Journal and elsewhere. His website is stephthepoet.org.
* McVicker is a longtime teaching artist and current Poet Laureate of Athens. His most recent book is “Zero, One Door” (2021). Her sons having grown up and flown, she lives and writes with her husband and a Hemingway cat named Dora.
* Prather’s first collection of poetry is “We were birds” by Main Street Rag Publishing. His poetry, essays and reviews have been widely published in print and online journals such as “Prairie Schooner”, “Colorado Review” “The Literary Review” “Sheila-Na-Gig” “American Journal of Poetry” and “Poet knowledge” among others. He studied acting at the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York and studied writing at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.
* Proudfoot writes poetry and fiction. His novel, “Road to Gochen” (Swallow Press, 2020) was shortlisted by the WNBA for Great Group Reads and longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Hemingway Prize. His first book of poetry, “Gods of the House”(Sheila-Na-Gig Press), arrives this summer.
* Wigal has led poetry workshops throughout the region and presented his poetry at fairs and festivals. She is dedicated to helping writers establish their own writing voice and become confident in both creating and presenting their work.