Monday, September 16, 2013

Exploring the Art of Poetry

Exploring the Art of Poetry

Poetry, like all art, is of course, about creating, about making something where there wasn’t anything before, or about making a transferable record of something felt, thought, or observed.

Not only is that the nature of the quarterly writing and reading series, The Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art, but it is also sometimes the very topic which the artists and poets who participate in the series explore.

If I’m not clear yet, try this. Artists create. Sometimes artists creations are about the act of creating. In academic circles, they like to refer to this as “meta.” If a poem deals with the process of writing poetry, it is called “meta.” If a play brings attention to the fact that it is, after all, a play, it is called metadrama.

This isn’t anything new. Shakespeare, for example, did it frequently, sometimes subtly, sometimes less so, as in, “All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players: / They have their exits and their entrances; / And one man in his time plays many parts” (from As You Like It). Or “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more” (from Macbeth).

The next Art of Poetry reading will be Saturday, September 21, at 2:00 at the Hickory Museum of Art. Metalworker, Larry Heath, has many of his creations currently on exhibit at the museum, and three poets have interpreted one of his pieces as being meta, as having something to do with art, with its power and purpose, with the act of creation itself.

Series coordinator, Scott Owens, in his poem inspired by Heath’s Orange Moon, says the art of poetry “is what won’t sit still inside your head / what wakes you up at night / what calls memory back from darkness / what gives words the shape they take / what makes you wonder how much more you could do / and just why you haven’t been doing it.”

Assistant coordinator, Kelly DeMaegd, after viewing the work wrote, “The creator imagines order, / meaning, knows that if a connection / is broken, a tree burns, hills erode, / rivers flood, cattle drown, children starve.”

And regular participant in the series, Douglas Anne McHargue, writes, “This moon is so bright / it can jump off the wall / collide with our sin / burn it to embers.”

Creating, how we do it, why we do it, what it achieves, is certainly something worth thinking about, and if it’s worth thinking about, then certainly it’s worth recording those thoughts in our own way.

To see these poems in their entirety, visit the museum after September 21. To hear them, come to The Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art at 2:00 on September 21.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Poetry Society Takes Over the North Carolina Poetry Collection

Poetry Society Takes over the North Carolina Poetry Collection
by Rebecca Rider (reprinted with permission)

The Poetry Council of North Carolina is gone but not forgotten. When it disbanded in April 2013, the Council transferred its books and archives to the North Carolina Poetry Society. This legacy includes a large collection of poetry which is housed at Catawba College in Salisbury. The Poetry Society will continue to preserve and sponsor this collection.

The Society's North Carolina Poetry Collection consists of approximately 1,000 books of poetry by North Carolina poets, works of criticism, and chapbooks. Comprised mostly of entries to the Poetry Council's Oscar Arnold Young award, it also features volumes of poetry and criticism donated by members of the Poetry Council.

The collection includes works by prominent North Carolina authors such as Anthony Abbott, Betty Adcock, Jim Clark, Judy Goldman, Irene Blair Honeycutt, Michael McFee, Lenard Moore, Ruth Moose, Scott Owens, Ron Rash, David Rigsbee, Pat Riviere-Seel, Stephen Smith, Mark Smith-Soto, Katherine Soniat, and Rhett Trull.

Several of the authors included are editors of prominent magazines and professors at North Carolina colleges and universities.

Four North Carolina Poet Laureates also have a place of honor in the North Carolina Poetry Collection—Fred Chappell, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Cathy Smith Bowers, and Joseph Bathanti.

The Poetry Society plans to add more books and poets, saving a spot on the shelves for winners of their annual Brockman-Campbell Award. The books will continue to be stored in a prominent position in the Corriher-Linn-Black Library at Catawba College. The collection is currently managed by Catawba College Writer-in-Residence Dr. Janice Fuller, who serves as a liaison to the Poetry Society.