By David Nilsen
As I explained a couple weeks back, Poetry Matters. It has mattered greatly to my life, and I want it to matter in yours. I’m pleased to announce Greenville Public Library will be starting a poetry appreciation group to allow lovers of poetry an opportunity to share and discuss their favorite poems and poets and hopefully discover some new favorites from other readers.
The group will be called (what else?) PoetryMatters. Attendees will bring books (either from their home libraries or GPL) containing poems they wish to share with the group (literary magazines, printouts from the internet, or other sources are acceptable too, of course). We will read these already published poems aloud and discuss them, but we will not, as Billy Collins says in his sly verse Introduction to Poetry, “tie the poem to a chair with rope / to torture a confession out of it.” We will talk about impressions, ideas, images and memories stirred up by lines, emotional responses to verses. This will not be an exploration of theory or philosophy, but a thoughtful celebration of a literary artform that can function on levels both close to the surface and deep beneath the waves. Bring your favorite poetry, a willingness to read aloud, an open mind, a generous ear.
PoetryMatters will not be the place for reading poetry written by group members or individuals close to them. This isn’t because we think your poetry is terrible and we don’t want you writing it, but because it distracts from the focus of what this group is intended to be about. We want to celebrate established, published poets and their writing in our meetings. Keep writing poetry. If you want us to read it, submit it to this journal.
PoetryMatters will meet once a month, and our first meeting will be on the third floor of the library on Friday, July 24, at 2:00 p.m. We will briefly discuss the best times and dates for future meetings and discuss locations for meeting (I’d like to meet at various downtown eateries), and then get on to the main attraction – reading poetry. Bring poetry you love and be ready to share it with the group. I can’t wait to read with you.