Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When Poetry Serves a Greater Cause

Book Release Party Scheduled for New Taste Full Beans at the Furniture Mart

“Musings” for March 19, 2009

I love poetry. Anyone who knows me knows that about me. Even more, I love poetry that doesn’t exist only in the ivory towers of academia or the secluded cells of other poets but rather plays a real and vital role in the needful world around us. Such is the case with the new anthology, Voices and Vision, from the Hickory Women’s Resource Center, which will serve as a vital fundraiser for the Center.

One of the often forgotten victims of our current economic downturn are non-profits like the Women’s Resource Center (WRC). It only stands to reason that when people are having difficulty making ends meet they are less likely to contribute to causes outside their own. Established non-profits, however, are doubly hit by the economic slide as they are not only unable to count on expected contribution patterns, but also lose the usual revenues generated by prior investments.

The services provided by the WRC are needed during hard economic times more than ever, so a shortage of revenue is especially painful during these times. The staff and volunteers at the WRC are aware of how important their services are right now and have worked hard over the past few months to insure that there is no interruption in those services. Part of that hard work has been the creation of an anthology of poetry and prose to be used as a fundraiser for the WRC while also instilling greater courage and determination in the readers of the anthology.

That anthology, Voices and Vision: A Collection of Writings By and About Empowered Women, is now available and will be featured in a book release party to be held at the new Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse at the Furniture Mart from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM on Tuesday, March 24. The highlight of the book release party will be a reading of selections from the anthology as many of the writers included in the book will be on hand. Those present will include Hickory area writers Molly Rice, Jeanne Ackley, and D. W. Bentley, as well as Salisbury writer, Terri Kirby Erickson.

Voices and Vision includes 40 pieces by 24 different authors who share their experience with or as extraordinary women “who weather life’s storms and transcend difficult hardships to become strong, healthy, and happy.” The stories they tell from these experiences are certain to enlighten, enrich, and inspire any reader, and the anthology would make a particularly appropriate gift for Mother’s Day.

Voices and Vision costs just $12 per copy, the proceeds of which will be used to fund continuing programs of the Women’s Resource Center, including resource and referral services, support groups, workshops, the personal hygiene pantry, and the Women2Work clothing closet. Last year WRC programs provided 1,167 lbs. of food to 54 families, 925 lbs. of personal hygiene items to 129 families, 800 lbs. of cleaning items to 80 families, 516 items of clothing to 63 women, bus passes to 28 women, gas cards to 32 women for job searches, phone cards to 7 women without phone service, and emergency financial assistance to 19 families for utilities, rent, or medical expenses. The center impacted the lives of 560 children under the age of 18 with 204 of them being 5 years old and under and served a total of 716 individuals.

For more information on the Book Release Party or the Women’s Resource Center, or to reserve your copy of Voices and Vision, contact the Center’s Outreach Coordinator, Susan Huttman, at 828-322-6333 or by email at outreach@wrchickory.org.

In keeping with my tradition of offering a poem in each installment of “Musings,” I am happy to reprint Liza Shaw’s poem “The Faith of a Flower” from Voices and Vision.

The Faith of a Flower
by Liza M. Shaw

Do not question your roots.
No matter how twisted,
Tangled or broken.

Grown through cracks
In hard places,
In the cold earth.

Raw life force, enduring.
Unsure, yet
Nourishment, knowledge and requisite learning.

Do not sway with every random breeze,
Or shower,
Or shrink and cower
Under bitter snows, frozen floes, raging torrents, undertows.

But allow these to strengthen, to build you.
Not weaken or kill you.
To grow you, to mold you
Not ruin or fold you.

Throw your very essence into the fiercest winds
And build your base on the strength against which you have had to fight.
Grow – against all odds.

And turn yourself toward warmth
And light.
and blossom.

1 comment:

  1. Powerful and beautiful poem! Thank you for the preview.