The Wright Library Poets recently put together a chapbook of poetry, “Overdue Poems: In Celebration of Libraries, Reading and Books,” which was funded by a grant from the Wright Memorial Public Library Foundation.
“This poetry collection showcases literary mashups, the hot imagination and of course reading and libraries. Fourteen poets from our group participated and the result is an eclectic mix of prose poems, dreamy meditations, narratives, poems of place and more,” explains Elizabeth Schmidt, a reference librarian at the library, poet and coordinator of the group.
The book is currently available for sale at the library (1776 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood) for a mere $2 with all proceeds going toward library writing programs. The cover features art by Oakwood student artist Annie Stuckey, a 2014 graduate of Oakwood High School currently attending University of Cincinnati to study graphic design.
Wright Library Poets was started in May, 2011 by Elizabeth and two other local poets (Eric Blanchard and Wes Bishop) and has since grown to a group of about 20, although Schmidt explains that not everyone comes every month. The library sponsored group is open to the public (new members are welcome) and meets monthly at the Starbucks in Oakwood. See the library’s website for event dates and times: www.wrightlibrary.org.
“Being sponsored by Wright Memorial Public Library is a huge benefit to our group, allowing us to host poetry readings, post poetry broadsides throughout the library, and publish our collection,” Schmidt said. “I’m proud of the work my library and other public libraries do to support the literary arts.”
Schmidt, a native of Middletown and current Kettering resident with her children and husband David, an Oakwood native, says she began writing poetry when the family moved back to the area in 2006.
“I’ve become a better poet because of the group,” Schmidt said. “It takes courage to put your heart and soul on the page and then invite someone to tell you what could be improved. I’m always conscious of this and try to keep our group critiques positive. Being in a writing group has made me more comfortable sharing and getting feedback on my work. My poet friends encourage me to keep writing. That’s a great gift.”
Co-founder Eric Blanchard, an Oakwood resident who moved to this area from Texas in 2011 says, “I found the literary community to be quite active, and I attended a poetry workshop given by David Garrison at the Wright Memorial Library. Being part of a group of poets who meet regularly keeps me on my literary toes and focused on honing my poetic skills.”
Another longtime member of the group and Oakwood resident, Betsy Hughes, said she joined the Wright Library poets seeking “constructive criticism and the sense of community with other poets. My hopes were, and still are, being fulfilled.”
The newest member of the group, Eileen Neiman, joined just this past May; she is a Dayton native who lives in Kettering. As the newest member she says, “In my opinion, the first baby step (as a poet) is to garner the courage to attend a workshop or critique circle and just ‘put it out there!’ ”
Members of the Wright Library Poets will host a free, open-to-the-public reading from “Overdue Poems” at the library Sunday, Sept. 21, at 2 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene (Beavercreek) — Local writer Lorie Langdon and her co-author Carey Corp will introduce “Destined for Doon,” the sequel to their first young adult novel, “Doon.”
Last week’s column correctly listed the Sinclair Community College 41st Annual Writers’ Workshop as being scheduled for Monday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Building 7 Library. However, since then the workshop’s website has been updated with this year’s faculty. Keynoter will be Gilbert King, author of the bestseller “Devil in the Grove,” which was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and named runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Other faculty will be writers Albino Carrillo, Katrina Kittle, Paula Lambert and Tim Waggoner. See http://www.sinclair.edu/academics/lcs/departments/eng/ws/ for details and registration.
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Sharon Short (www.sharonshort.com) is a novelist and director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Contact Sharon with news about your book club or organization. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @SharonGShort