Dufferin’s Poet Laureate hosts poetry workshop

September 22, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Harry Posner, Dufferin County’s Poet Laureate, is continuing his responsibility as an ambassador promoting literary and other arts in the community, by hosting his first poetry workshop last Sunday.

Dubbed “Make Poetry GREAT Again,” it was the first of three workshops. This one took place at Orangeville’s Mill Street Public Library.

The workshop kicked off the session by exploring different aspects of poetry, what it is, how it’s made, the rules behind it, and when to break them.

“The idea is to get them to wiggle out of their normal skins for a period of time, to try something different, and to exercise their poetic muscles,” said Mr. Posner.

Participants got to do experimental writing, such as erasure poetry, taking a text from a book (James Joyce’s “Ulysses”) and scrubbing out words with a crayon they don’t want in their poem.

They also shared a particular fact about their lives, and wrote a poem based on that personal detail. With the warm, sunny weather, Mr. Posner took them outside to write a Haikou about a particular detail on the environment.

“I thought to myself, ‘How to help people loosen their relationship between language and meaning,’” Mr. Posner said, explaining his inspiration for creating the workshop series.

He said the workshops help to get the participants to not care so much about words and their “direct connection to meaning.”

He added that language is in trouble, and the jobs of poets and writers is to “rejuvenate the language, give it a new sense of purpose, and re-evaluate the meanings we have given to words and phrases.”

The other two workshops will be held at the library Sunday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 26, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Mr. Posner encourages more to join, as each workshop is different, and they can register at the Mill Street library.

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