Transform Your Form: Upcoming Craft Talks Celebrate National Poetry Month

kickstart your poetry with Chinese-Iranian writer Saba Keramati, novelist Peter Geye, and diverse area writers

Rebecca Mennecke |

NEVER A DULL POET. April is National Poetry Month and the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild is helping us celebrate. (Photo via Facebook)
NEVER A DULL POET. April is National Poetry Month and the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild is helping us celebrate. (Photo via Facebook)

“Walk inside the poem’s rooms / and feel the walls for a light switch.” So writes Billy Collins in his famous poem “Introduction to Poetry.” Area poets encourage writers to flick on your creativity with a slew of events celebrating National Poetry Month this April.

National Poetry Month, dedicated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, celebrates the role that poets play in today’s world.

“While we designate April as national poetry month,” B.J. Hollars, executive director of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild said, “the truth is poetry is relevant and vital all year round. Not only does it connect people through space and time and geography, but it’s one more way to form a community that elevates the written world while drawing attention to relevant issues from beauty to justice and everything in between. We don’t just read poems, we share poems. And in that sharing, we reaffirm our humanity.”

At 3:30pm on Monday, April 4, join award-winning fiction novelist Peter Geye at Centennial Hall 2714 at UW-Eau Claire for a craft chat about his latest novel, The Ski Jumpers, and his work teaching the year-long Novel Writing Project at the Loft Literary Center.

Explore forms such as the ghazal and sestina, and play with centos and erasure, with Chinese-Iranian writer and educator Saba Keramati at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 5, thanks to the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.

Looking for ways to try your hand at poetry, or refine your poetic style? Come to “Verse in the Valley” from 6-8pm Tuesday, April 12, at Artisan Forge Studios. Join a diverse lineup of writers – including Alabama-based writer Abraham Smith, Minnesota-based writer Mark Ehling, Xin Obaid of the MingXin Chinese Cultural Exchange (who will read poetry in both English and Chinese!), writer Sara Bryan, UW-Eau Claire professor and poet Asha Sen (who last year penned “Dear Ma” for Volume One’s Local Lit!), NYU student and former editor of NOTA  Alexander Zitzner, writer and activist Katy Hackworthy, and author Patricia Hawkenson – at Artisan Forge Studios. Tune in to live music by Lee Mynott and visual art by Mindy Huntress. Bring your own poems, as there’ll be a great open mic opportunity too!

For more information, visit cvwritersguild.org.