Writers unite for poetry

Diamond Valley Writers Guild meets at Hemet Library

Photo by Cindy Boeing / The Valley Chronicle
Nineteen members of Diamond Valley Writers Guild who read their poems. Back row, l to r: Jim Hitt (ball cap), Suzanne Saunders, Eve Gaal (brown blouse in far back), Valerie Eitzen (blue floral blouse), Karen Robertson (orange top), Judie Mare’ (tall brunette), Jenois Harris (black lady), Greg Porterfield (plaid shirt at end of row).
Front row: Bob Nickerson (glasses tucked in shirt front), Esther Feigenbaum, Lynette Tucker (long brunette hair), Howard Feigenbaum (seated), Mary Jo Bradley (blond with pink floral blouse), Beth Camarillo, Letty Flood (hand in pocket), Daniel Kuttner (“M” on tee shirt), Ellen Barker, Katherine Tucker (yellow blouse), and Erin Schalk.

■ Dennis Fletcher / Contributed

Last Saturday, Aug. 25, members of the Diamond Valley Writers Guild convened upstairs in the Hemet Library and, one might say, waxed poetic!
Forty-three of the 85 members of the Guild (DVWG) attended the group’s Third Annual Appreciation of Poetry meeting where the theme “Does poetry still matter?” was discussed by writers young and old.
The meeting was led by Howard Feigenbaum, author, poet and photographer who invited members to read poems they had written or, if they wished, poems written by others. Readers gave explanations of how they came to write the poems and the personal meanings the poems had in their lives. These foreshadowing details added a level of personal knowledge about the author that added to the enjoyment and meaning of the poems.
One member wrote a poem about her husband who had a close call with death when he had a heart attack. The poem reverberated throughout the room and found an alert audience, particularly among whose who had shared that experience. Other poems spoke about quiet remembered moments long ago, past loves, pets and adventures. The sharp lens of these well-written poems focused by Guild members did much more justice to the stories they told than a few paragraphs of tossed-off prose might have done.
Feigenbaum had fun with the audience by reading a song recorded by Wilson Pickett where the audience joined in with the refrain, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-NAH. Anyone remember that old gem? If you do, feel free to share it in a Letter to the Editor.
Valerie Eitzen shared some of her senryu poems, related to Japanese haiku poetry. From Valerie’s handout distributed to everyone, we learned that senryu is a major form of Japanese verse, written in seven syllables or less. Senryu poems focus on the psychological and social weaknesses of people. They usually employ dark humor, irony and satire (if you don’t know the difference between irony and satire, or similes and analogies, come to the next meeting). Haiku, on the other hand, is usually about nature.
Some brief vignettes that present a spontaneous picture of human nature written by Eitzen:

Photo by Cindy Boeing / The Valley Chronicle
Jenois “Lois” Harris read her poem God’s Own Rose about a homeless man she knew.

“Front seat: lovers hug
Below, city lights sparkle
14-karat night
Today, kids don’t play
Mute, finger-tapping statues
Ignoring friendship

Sizzling cicadas …
We desperately await
The sound of silence”
Jenois “Lois” Harris read her popular poem, God’s Own Rose, about a homeless person she knew in Los Angeles. An excerpt:
“A rose will help me feel happy
A rose will help chase away
Scenes of sorrow and sadness
I see around me everyday”
Feigenbaum shared his thoughts with the attentive and friendly audience: Writing poetry requires both art and skill. Art is the fun part. But we also need the skills, using the thesaurus and other tools.
Some 22 writers shared their poetic choices, works by them and others, with an appreciative audience.
The DVWG meets from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month from January – October at the Hemet Public Library, 300 E. Latham Ave. in Hemet. Membership in the Writers Guild is $20 annually. This year, meetings will be dark in November and December.
The next meeting will be Sept. 22 when members will explore the dark side of the literary world in a talk that will cover everything from writing and selling horror short stories, magazine articles, and comic books, to screenplays and full-length novels. Speakers will be Mercedes M. Yardley and Tim Chizmar, co-chairs of the Las Vegas chapter of the International Horror Writers Association.

To find out more about the Diamond Valley Writers Guild, visit its website at www.dvwritersguild.org.

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