Last year in July, you may remember my mentioning that we started a poetry group at the library where I work. It was an enthusiastic group to start, but there was a lot happening over this past year. Chad got a new job north of here. Sharlene landed a professor position, and had to teach later. Dylan got the chance to travel on the road with a band, and Tom, now retired had the opportunity to spend more time with his beloved wife. Not bad things, just the opposite, good life changes.
Micah and I had our own challenges this year too, and sometimes my son and I were the only ones this winter to show up at events. Part of that was the cold and the snow. But part of that was also my being internet savvy, but not local, small-town, newspaper savvy. And some of it was that a good thing takes some time to work around by word of mouth. Either way, we’ve learned a few things and grown, and most importantly, stuck with it.
This summer, Faith M. Saxton Gallo, one of our members, came up with the idea of setting up her easel in our Library Garden, and inviting other artists to join her where passers-by could see, while the rest of us opened up our poetry journals and notepads at the picnic table. Now we don’t have a lot of foot traffic in this little town, but until the bypass (if it ever) happens, we do have a lot of motor traffic coming by on route 11. So it gets a little visibility when our active library community goes outside.
Last night we had the opportunity to overlap the garden use with our incredible children’s library, and the end of their summer reading program. It definitely caught the interest of a few parents. We’ve also had some time and staying power to reach out to local artists and authors, like John Moore, whose face you see in the sketch by my friend Mary, who surprised and delighted me by showing up last night. It was also a joy to have my work-buddy, writer, and budding blogger, Steve, The Accidental Poet, join us at the picnic table. Tamara, one of our interns joined us and talked about her love for photography and her plans for art classes at Kutztown University. I don’t think we could have asked for a better evening.
We have a lot of ideas, and are putting them into motion. And once it gets too cold to be outside, we have plans for the Cross Keys Poetry Society to host a Story Time for Grown-ups series, with time for an open mic afterward. Poetry can be a small community in a tiny town, so we want to reach out to other artists and create space where we can share and learn from each other. Where better than at the local library? I’m feeling really positive about the organic way in which this group is finding ways to make a home in this community and invite others to do the same.
What’s happening outside your door? Is there a group you wish you could join, if there only were such a thing near you? Well, if you have some patience and some love, you can start one yourself! Just don’t be afraid to let it grow into it’s own thing while you’re planting and watering that garden.
Here’s a bit of our evening last night, with music by my future husband, Brian P. Kelly, as he plays Loreena McKennitt’s musical adaptation of Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalott.” Now, I could just share the YouTube video with you, but I’m also kind of proud that Jeff, our library director gave me the opportunity to do the redesign of the library’s website. Apparently it’s getting noticed too. So indulge me, if you would and take a peek at PriestleyForsyth.org when you have the chance.