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Wood County Public Library plans poetry readings, writing workshop

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 from Wood County; Sean Kelbley, Stephanie Kendrick, Wendy McVicker and Bonnie Proudfoot from Athens and Meigs counties.

National Poetry month was created in 1996 by the American Academy of Poets to encourage the reading and writing of poems and to bring poetry into classrooms and libraries, especially in April.

The program from 10 a.m.-noon will begin with introductions and readings of work from each poet, followed by a Q&A session. The poets’ books will be available to purchase and have signed.

The program from 1-3 p.m. will offer participants their choice of two hour-long workshops from 1-2 p.m. and from 2-3 p.m. where poets will present writing prompts and discuss ideas to spark their own writing of poetry or even develop ideas for fiction or memoirs.

No prior 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.

Workshop topics are:

* “Ekphrastic Poetry: Getting Started” presented by Kelbley, where participants will explore visual art as a springboard into writing.

* “Back to Basics” presented by Kendrick, where participants will engage in a quick free-write exercise and leave with poem-starts and be fully equipped with tools needed to meet submission goals for 2022.

* “Letter Poems” presented by McVicker where participants will look at some letter poems, whimsical or serious, and start their own.

* “Myth and Memory and the Other Life” presented by Prather, where participants can stretch their poetic voices by exploring fault and fantasy, revealing parts of ourselves that may only exist in exploring our errors of memory or our “lies” of persona.

* “Food, Wonderful Food” presented by Proudfoot, which will look at a variety of delicious and delectable food poems and generate writing that uses food as a launching point.

* “Some Assembly Required” presented by Wigal. The workshop will focus on the necessary “tools” for writing poems and will feature hands-on writing exercises along with group discussion.

The Featured Poets

* Kelbley lives in Meigs County, and works as a primary-grades counselor in the Athens City Schools. His ekphrastic poetry has been recognized in contests 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), editor of “Periodical Poetry,” and co-host of Athens County’s Thursday Night Open Mic. Her poems have appeared in Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Gyroscope Review, Northern Appalachia Review, Poets Reading the News, Spill: The Journal and elsewhere. Her website is stephthepoet.org.

* McVicker is a longtime teaching artist and current Poet Laureate of Athens. Her most recent chapbook is “Zero, a Door” (2021). Her sons having grown and flown, she lives and writes in the company of her husband and a Hemingway cat named Dora.

* Prather’s first collection of poetry is “We Were Birds” from 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 Lore,” 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. Her novel, “Goshen Road” (Swallow Press, 2020) was selected by the WNBA for its Great Group Reads and long-listed for the 2021 PEN/Hemingway award. Her first book of poems, “Household Gods “(Sheila-Na-Gig Press), is coming this summer.

* Wigal has led poetry workshops throughout the region and has presented her poetry at fairs and festivals. She is dedicated to helping writers establish their own writing voice and to become confident, both in the creation and presentation of their work.

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