The Foothills Arts Council partnered with the Northwestern Regional Library to hold poetry night at the Brushy Mountain Winery Sunday evening.
Many poets came out to share their love for the written word, including Bill Griffin, Millie Hiatt of the Spoken Word Society, Kyle McDonald, owner of Trees 2 Treasures, Stacie Libbert, Dr. Lynda Black, and Beanie Taylor.
“It was a great evening. There was such a great variety of poets there this evening,” said Griffin. “Even our youngest reader was just super. There’s a lot of talent out there in Surry and Yadkin County. A lot of people have just brought in some heart-felt stories and feelings about loved ones, loss, desires, and struggles in life. For many, it’s almost like a night of therapy.”
A drawing also was held for two free gift cards made by Beanie Taylor.
In total, the evening saw about 10 poets step up on stage to present their work.
“I’ve been writing for eight years,” said Black. “I’ve written grants and policies over the years for nonprofits and for Wilkes Community College and I felt like it developed my skills. I’ve always had an interest in creative writing, and I just decided it was time to start doing it. A lot of my stories and poems start when I hear a little piece of something and then that idea expands and grows. It’s like planting the seed. For example, hearing family stories can inspire me and I take it from there and construct my own stories from that tidbit.”
For many people at the Brushy Mountain Winery, the poetry night gave them a chance to gain some insight into not only the lives and feelings of many of the readers, but also into themselves.
“I think that we realize that we have so much more in common than what appears to be the case,” said Black. “Common truths, hardships and desires are all things we can share through poetry. I enjoyed the reading tonight. It’s neat because I’m meeting people in the area who write.”
“I’ve been writing for close to 20 years,” said Griffin. “It’s the creative juice that you have to write and also the feeling that I can look at the lines and images to help capture a part of my life. It’s a little piece of my life and I feel like it can say something that can touch on a part of my life and the lives of other people. I use to say that when you read a good poem, you say ‘wow, I really know what the poet’s feeling,’ but when you read a great poem, you think, ‘wow, now I know what I’m feeling.’”
“I thought it was great,” said Taylor. “I always love hearing what people have to say and how they say it because it inspires me. It makes you think differently, not just through different kinds of thoughts, but through different ways of thinking. I was suicidal as a child in my preteens and writing and expressing my thoughts was how I dealt with everything that was going on during that rough time of my life. Writing was a saving grace for me. I think that’s one of the important things about just writing. It can help you overcome the challenges in your life.”
The Elkin Public Library also has several other events being prepared for the coming months.
Dr. Lynda Black will be presenting “A Sandhills Saga” on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. Black has been researching her novel-in-progress, set in Moore County, and has discovered her own family’s past. Readers and aspiring writers will get the chance to learn how she weaved together family stories, history and her own writing to provide a glimpse of life into the past of North Carolina.
Plans are being made to start a Creative Writing Club at the Elkin Public Library beginning in October. Aspiring writers will be able to meet to share ideas, encourage one another in their writing, and receive feedback on their stories. People are encouraged to sign up to receive more information and mark days coming up. People may contact Program Assistant Kasey Nowalk at 336-835-5586 or by email at [email protected] for more information.
“Writing the Narrative Poem,” a free poetry workshop with author and professor Jospeh Bathanti, is planed for Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. Participants will learn poetic techniques such as rhythm, sounds, compressed language and line breaks while learning about elements of fiction, conflict, setting, characters and dialogue. Space for this workshop is limited so people are encouraged to sigh up quickly.
The next Open Mic Poetry Night will be held at the Foothills Arts Council at 129 Church St. in Elkin Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.