Virginia poet leads writing workshop at Hillsboro Library

As part of the New Voices Writing Workshop series sponsored by High Rocks, Virginia poet Erica Weaver led a poetry workshop Saturday at the Hillsboro Public Library.

Weaver guided the workshop attendees through two exercises which help poets expand their horizons in their writing.

The first, called 40-word meditation, consists of a list of words, 10 rows of four words, and the object is to create a 10 line poem using one word from each line, using one word per line of the poem.

The second calls for the writer to use an image, in this case pages torn from old National Geographic magazines, and create a poem describing the image.

“You are trying to really get inside of the image and try to figure out what would it feel like to be in this room or what would it feel like to be on this river scene, and just trying to get different senses of place into the poems,” Weaver said. “I feel like for me, a lot of what I write tends to have the same landscape and the same geography which I think can be really great. Obviously, it’s where I’m from so I often write about it, but I think it can also be helpful to make yourself write about very different scenes and very different places sometimes because you can take some of that and bring it into your usual writing.”

Weaver, who is a teacher and is studying for her PhD in English Literature, has always been drawn to poetry.

“I’ve always really loved it, and so I’ve always read poems,” she said. “I’ve just really liked observing people and places, and wanting to write about them. I guess it’s definitely developed over time for me. I’m much more dedicated to it now than I was five or ten years ago. I’m just trying to make it a daily habit.”

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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