Area poet receives rare residency award

Aimee Noel is an English teacher at Tippecanoe High School, but this summer she will be focusing on her other passion… creating poetry.

Aimee is one of 75 artists who won an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award this year.

The Ohio Arts Council also partners with the Fine Arts Works Center (FAWC) in Provincetown, Mass., to fund three-month Summer Residency programs; only two Ohio artists who have received Individual Excellence Awards are given this opportunity each year.

In 2016, Aimee was one of those two; the other recipient is Christine Howey, a Cleveland poet, theater critic and playwright.

While in residence at FAWC, Aimee will be able to work in a community of other artists, focusing on her poetry writing. (Learn more about FAWC at www.web.fawc.org).

“I’m so proud that Ohio has this kind of program for artists,” Aimee says. “I will be working on my current poetry project, but part of the residency allows us to attend up to three of the organization’s workshops. I’m planning to attend at least a few. This is the kind of opportunity that so rarely comes along.”

“Some people say they’ve been writing ever since they were a kid,” Aimee adds. “I haven’t really been writing poetry that long. I took a creative writing workshop in 2004 or so with Adrienne Cassel at Wright State University as part of keeping up my licensure for teaching. Adrienne was fantastic! I became enchanted by economy of language and how much it could evoke. I had to have more experiences like that!”

To that end, Aimee earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing through Lesley University, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Because the program was low residency, Aimee says she was able to pursue the degree while continuing her teaching duties.

Aimee, who grew up outside of Buffalo, N.Y., moved to Dayton about 10 years ago for her teaching position.

“I love Dayton, and I’m active in the Dayton community,” Aimee says.

She says that while she’s away from Dayton at her summer residency, she will be working on a collection of poems that “encompass historical working class voices. We so often don’t hear those voices through poetry and literature. I grew up in a working class, steel mill town. Part of my collection will also examine that experience, as well as the process of separating from that background.”

For readers who don’t often read poetry, Aimee says, “don’t give up! There are all kinds of poetry and poets, and you will find a poet who appeals to you. I suggest starting with narrative poetry, and then branching out to try experimental poetry.”

For writers who want to try poetry, Aimee adds, “I’m so proud and grateful for how many literary opportunities we have for writers through our libraries, universities and workshops like the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. I urge poets and all writers to explore those opportunities. Writing begins as a solitary effort, but eventually all writers need a sounding board and to be energized. Finding a writing community gives writers that.”

Other Literary Events:

• Sunday, July 10-Thursday, July 14, 7 p.m. each night, Antioch University Midwest (900 Dayton St., Yellow Springs— Faculty and participants of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop give readings from new works. All readings are free and open to the public. Faculty readings (July 10-12) will be followed by a book signing. See the workshop’s website, www.antiochwritersworkshop.com, for details.

• Thursday, July 14, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene—Donald Ray Pollock introduces his newest literary novel, “The Heavenly Table.”

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