Message from the President
October has flown because I’ve been traveling. I went to North Dakota to visit a friend for a few days, then came home to rest. A trip to Cuba came through, and I spent four amazing days there. After a very brief rest, I went to the Quad-City area for a genealogy conference. I have lots of poems percolating in my brain. The only title floating about is “Flan for Breakfast.” It will take a while to absorb all of my wonderful experiences. I did manage to write two Golden Shovel poems for the workshop I led. That’s what Poets & Patrons does for me: it gives me deadlines and makes sure I get some rough drafts down on paper. We won’t be having a workshop now until February 24, 2018, if I am correct, but I hope all of you will continue to be inspired by the life you experience. You are the only person in all of history to experience events the way you do, but we all have some common emotions and reactions. Poems that reflect these feelings are the poems that connect with people. May you have many in the next four months.
One good thing that has happened for me is that the writing in itself has become a reward, so I am writing more often. Quilting is calming for me, but fairly predictable. Writing is a never-ending door into the mysterious world of language and I am so grateful I have been invited in.
As the leaves disappear from the branches of the trees, may they drop some beautiful ideas into your mind. Or, as Walt Whitman so aptly said it, "Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?” I hope you will get out in spite of the cold, rain, snow, wind, and holidays to enjoy some fresh air and fresh ideas.
November 25th, there is a Write! Chicago workshop at the Hemingway House in Oak Park at 339 N. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park, which is just south of Chicago Avenue and 2 blocks north of Lake Street. It will begin at 10 AM. There is a fee of $15 ($13 if we get 10 or more people) for the guided tour and poets will meet afterward in a cafe near by to write. Please RSVP your attendance to email@example.com. Members will receive preference over non-members.
You are also welcome to attend our board meeting on November 18th at the Panera in Addison, IL. We meet at 11 AM at 1600 W. Lake St. Come help us make plans for the coming year. All board meetings are open to the members. Please RSVP so we can save you a seat if you are coming.
I have finally seen the Gauguin exhibit and it did not disappoint. It reminded me that we are all influenced by the world we live in. Gauguin was influenced by the Impressionists and by Degas. He, in turn, influenced Van Gogh and Picasso. What are your influences? Did you get encouragement from your parents or your school? Was there a mentor who saw potential in you? I was discouraged from creative endeavors because my parents were products of the Great Depression. They believed that you can’t make a living creating art.
We are fortunate to live in Chicago in an era that sees the growth of poetry, poetry venues, and poets. In general in this country, books and poetry are in decline. How lucky we are to have a group of good poets that support and encourage each other. I find I have written more this year than ever before because I like what I am writing. I hope you, too, will seek out others who are not yet recognized for their talent. Meet with them on a regular basis and you will keep improving. While you will improve your writing by writing every day, our workshops will really help you improve.
Thanks to Caroline for a great job on our web site! I hope you have all taken the time to check out the pages. The contest deadline is next Thursday, Aug. 31, and you can find the rules and categories online. Be sure to submit poems in the Chicago categories.
We will have a ceremony to read the contest winners on October 14th at the Downers Grove Public Library at 1:00 PM, followed by a workshop on writing Golden Shovel poems. Please come and hear some wonderful work, even if you don’t win.
Dear Fellow Poets,
A few years ago I wrote a poem called Prodigal Poet. It was about all the fun I had in the summer and how I hadn’t written much, if anything. I love summer, but Ravinia, travel, teaching summer school, family dinners and joining friends for lunch or dinner really cut into my writing time. My schedule is thrown off, and I find myself wondering where the time went. If this happens to you, this month draws summer to a close. You might think about getting back into the writing routine and connecting with a small circle of writers on a regular basis. I have three groups that keep me writing. Of course, Poets and Patrons, with its bimonthly workshops and board meetings in between. Then, in Palatine, the Second Saturday workshops, and finally, a small group of women that meet once a month in Panera. I hope you have some groups to keep you going, as well.
Caroline has been working hard to get our new web site up and running. I hope you will take a look around. I am quite impressed with what she has shown us so far.
Be sure to get your poems in for the contest. The deadline is September 1, but Barbara is glad to get them sooner. We have 14 categories this year, with 3 reserved for Chicago area only. Don’t forget to pay the entry fee. We will not judge poems if the entire fee has not been paid ($12 for members, plus $1 for each additional poem in a category).
Our workshop this month is on August 26th at our usual place and time (Harold Washington Library, Room 3N6) at 1:00. Our workshop leader is Mary Hanforth, who will discuss the beauty of Sonnets. Mary is an old friend of mine from western Illinois who writes beautiful poetry. I hope you will enjoy working with her. Don’t forget to join us for lunch if you can.
Hope to see you soon.
Dear Fellow Poets,
As some of you know, my daughter is singing with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus this year. It has been a long, hard struggle for her to find her place in the world, but I am blessed to be able to hear her performances. If you’d like to hear the previous recording, click here. It is a stunning production, written for the Atlanta Symphony, that looks at many different aspects of creation and creating. Theofanidis had several research assistants studying the topic in many cultures. In fact, he found so much material that he had to write another symphony. If you ever get the chance, do see this work. It includes video and colored lights. It was so stimulating, I wanted to go home and write immediately. Unfortunately, I’m not a late-night person, so I didn’t, but it really made me realize just how much is inside of each one of us, waiting to be released.
In contrast, I had to go into the city for a yearly exam. One would think that taking the car to the el to the bus would not be stimulating, but to this suburbanite, it was full of interesting tidbits that have already made their way into a first draft. While all people respond to kindness, Chicagoans have a very intelligent, compassionate spirit. I was afraid of missing my stop because the bus location sign on board was not working. I found two people to help me, including one Asian lady who was going the same way I was.
DON’T FORGET that membership fees are due. Starting this year, if membership dues are not up to date, you will be charged $10 for the workshop fee for each submitted a poem.
Caroline Johnson will be leading the workshop on April 29th as part of the Poetry Fest at the Washington Public Library. She’ll be sending a flyer out soon. Please check the library’s web site. They have a full day of excellent activities.
Our poetry contest this year is adding a category inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks for Chicago poets only because it is the 100th anniversary of her birth. We will continue to have the popular Shakespeare category we had last year.
A new Write! Chicago will be June 10th at the new Writer’s Museum in the Loop. A flyer will be coming soon.
We have 15 poets from ISPS and Poets and Patrons signed up to read on April 13 at the After-Words Bookstore. The event starts at 5:30 pm.
Please take a look at our Facebook page. I have posted a question for you all there.
See you at the workshop, if not sooner!