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Words take shape




A small but friendly group of people greeted me at the Garfield Poetry Circle at Garfield Park Arts Center (2432 Conservatory Drive) when I stopped at the gathering last Saturday. I thought I was headed into a stand-at-the-podium, full-on poetry reading; instead, the group offered the chance, as I now understand it does every month, to read poetry and get feedback from other attendees. The other folks — a retired architect, a grandmother, and a man who quoted Churchill twice — listened intently to the work I found and shared on the fly. We listened to a poem about lake mud squishing between the toes, short fiction about a man who encounters a ghost, and a poem about the places where loneliness can be found, including in being the only person to carry in the groceries.

The group generally has between two and five writers in attendance. We sat around an oblong table (which made me want to change the group’s name to the Poetry Oval), and chatted about mixed metaphors, and looked over articles that the group’s founder had brought along. The first, from Writer’s Digest, reminded readers about “The 10 Essential Rules of Poetry.” They were all about giving oneself more of a chance as a writer; “Experiment” (taking chances with poetic rules) and “Submit” (which I need to do far more often) have special significance for me. The second article, from WriterMag, discussed the best practices for dealing with autobiographical subjects in one’s work. I found the article to be kismet — I had shared a poem about a breakup and wasn’t sure if it was done (as done as poems get, of course). Now I can follow — and then fracture — some rules while I find out.

The next meeting will be September 19 at 3:00 p.m. Call the group’s coordinator, Michael Rogers, at 317-784-2958 or the Garfield Arts Center at 317-327-7275 for more information. Rogers also edits a semiannual collection of poetry called Poetry Garden and is currently accepting submissions for the next volume.

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