26 March 2012

The Poetry Project

How appropriate I join a new poetry group
just before National Poetry Month!
I don't talk a lot about my personal life here (for a lot of reasons), but this is about my writing life as much as it is my personal life, so I'm writing about it anyway. And I think it's particularly apt since National Poetry Month is less than a week away.

Last week I went to the inaugural meeting for a local poetry group in my town. It's co-sponsored by the public library and an amazing hole-in-the-wall bookstore. There were more than a dozen of us that first night, with quite a diverse group. Literature was represented by the bookstore owners and worker, as well as two librarians. Academia was represented in two professors (both former professors of mine, with one being my former academic advisor) and a current college student at my alma mater. A few retired ladies were there, two of whom are closely associated with my alma mater. One woman works with French literature (I know, right?). One man is in the legal system. I'm so excited by the kinds of conversation that will be sparked by this group!

That aside, I'm ecstatic that there is a poetry group in my little town, and that I'm a part of it! The group is sort of split between writers and readers/appreciators, so we've structured it to allow everyone to get what they want out of the group. We will read and discuss published poems, but those who bring original poems and want feedback will have the opportunity to get that from other members, as well.

Right now we're planning to meet twice a month. There was talk about hosting events in the future and deciding on a name for our little band of poetry lovers, but for now we're all just happy to have a place to go twice a month to talk about poetry.

It's worth getting involved in local groups like these. Whether you're in a big city or a small middle-of-nowhere town, finding literary-type groups and organizations to support (don't forget about local businesses!) can be beneficial to your writing career. Not only do these groups get you involved in the local writing scene through meeting local authors or connecting with potential business contacts, but you never know what new friendships can lead to. In fact, when I went into the bookstore a few days after our first poetry group meeting, I stopped and was talking to the owners (co-sponsoring the group), and after finding out what I do for a living, one of the owners asked for my business card. I don't know that anything will come of this new contact, but if I hadn't gone to the poetry group, we wouldn't have had that conversation!

Remember that local business people like to support other local business people. Even if it's something as simple as dropping a pile of your cards at the local bookstore or posting a flyer at a thrift shop, you never know what connections can lead to something great.

That said, I think I'll go back to scribbling a little poetry to get ready for next month's poetry group meeting.

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