Monday, June 22, 2015

Open Voting until June 28th

Welcome everyone to the Johns Creek Poetry Readers Group. 

I am thrilled that you are participating in this blog.  It is my hope that our conversations and interpretations that emerge from the reading the poetry books will further the goal of the Johns Creek Poetry Group.  The goal is to provide a forum for meeting and discussing the writing and reading of our own and other poet's work.  Also, this blog experience will work best if it is fun, instructive, informative, and an enjoyable way to expand our poetic horizon and poetry friends. 

Learning while having in depth discussions and viewpoints hopefully will stimulate and inspire your own poetry writing and process leading to new ways to envision and compose your experience into  poetic forms.

I would like to thank Steven Shields for everything he has done to get this blog up and running.  There would be no poetry readers group without it for his setting up of the blog was what gave me the idea for a poetry readers group in the first place.  The blog made a bridge that could expand ways to discuss poetry between our regular meetings and be a new way to more useful to all of our poetic lives.

Initial experimental period will run from July through November, 2015.  In this trial period, experiment with your blog writings and comments to further the dialogue.  We will be learning as we go to discover what works well, what does not, and what would be the best way to integrate the blog into our regular poetry meetings.

Open Voting until June 28th:  This will give every member time to get on the blog and become familiar with how to make the blog work for them.

Please vote by sending an e-mail to me.  Each member should have a copy of the recommended poetry books.  Members may add, change, or delete any selected book at any time.

I will announce the main selection and the alternate poetry book for the trial period on June 30th and give Amazon prices for the books.  Other sources with lower prices would be appreciated.

In the event that the members have no clear preference, I will make the selection of the main and alternate poetry book:  Louise Gluck, Faithful and Virtuous Night and, as alternate, Ruth Stone, In the Dark.



Saturday, June 20, 2015

The June Meeting

Saul Torres, Ron Boggs, and Dan Veach (seated)
We were honored to have Atlanta Review editor and internationally prominent poet Dan Veach present to us this morning.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This Is A Test. This Is ONLY A Test

Just checking to make sure the invitation system is functioning correctly.  This post will be deleted when I am sure that it is.  Thanks.

Introducing the Johns Creek Poetry Readers Group

Not that anyone is particularly following this blog (yet) but those who do will soon notice that there will be posts allowed by several different Johns Creek-area poets.  Allow me to introduce:  Ron Boggs,Maribeth Price, Jill Jennings, Gloria Harrington, Kathy Ellis, Saul Torres and me--your genial congenial host, Steven Shields.

The purpose of the group (and having these several authors) is to have more readers reading more books of poetry and commenting on them.  Hopefully whatever people find of interest will be of interest to others.  Comments on the blog (or in person) can be critical, supportive, interpretive--whatever.  This is an open forum.  For the moment the comments section for each post has been set to allow someone (me) to moderate them but only to delete spam and ads for Viagra.

To the business at hand, then.

I confess I have often been surprised at how often I have attended poetry readings over the years (and been in a few myself) where people come up afterwards and enthusiastically tell the reader what a wonderful job they did (as if it were work somehow) and then waft away without buying a book.  It's as if a compliment is more supportive than cold hard cash.  Maybe it seems crass.

When I have done readings, the sale of one or two books is a "good reading."  Yes, yes--poetry has a small readership.  But even among those who claim to be most interested, there seems a reluctance to plunk down a ten and carry off the spoils of the evening.

Maybe the problem in part lies in deciding what's a "good" book of poems.  Hopefully, that's where the group who form the nucleus of this blog can help a little.

Aside from readings, how exactly does one learn of a new work that may be worth reading (or retaining in your own library)?  It isn't as if there were a lot of press coverage of the release of new poetry books.  One website I have found helpful in this regard is Poetry Daily ( and their "news" section.  Lots of books are mentioned in these, as well as a compendium of new arrivals elsewhere on the page.  BTW, if you have a smartphone, download the app.  It works pretty well, I've found.

There may be other places, of course.  Maybe the shelves of Barnes and Noble is your favorite haunt.  Once folks have accepted the invitation to join in here, perhaps you can let the rest of us know your sorrces.  Thanks.

OK.  Ron has asked me to suggest a new or recent book to kick things off.  There are a couple of "can't miss" selections I immediately thought of.  Let me suggest Louise Gluck's latest "Faithful and Virtuous Night" as something to sink our collective teeth into.

The floor is now open.