Poetry Matters is a poetry appreciation group that meets once a month, usually at a local cafe, to read and discuss poems. Group members do not read their own poetry; rather, this group is for the purpose of appreciating and sharing published works that have impacted their lives.
This program is wonderfully low maintenance and requires very little advance planning. Our facilitator chooses the next date and location and contacts the venue to reserve seating. The group is intentionally kept small (10 or fewer), so reservations are never a problem. Beyond marketing, that is more or less all that is required.
The program leader writes a short post for Fourth and Sycamore , our online literary journal, and shares this post on our various social media platforms. The post consists of reflections from the previous meetings, details about the next meeting and a few personal thoughts on poetry. Information about the event is also given to the individuals who create our library newsletter and fliers for inclusion.
Aside from snacks and coffee — on the rare occasions the event must be held at the library — there is no expense. Group members pay for their own food and drinks at off-site locations.
On the day of the event, the facilitator arrives a few minutes early to the venue, secures the reserved table and greets attendees when they arrive.
To start the program, the facilitator opens the meeting, shares details for the next month's meeting and then reads the first poem. The group then openly discusses the poem with the guidence of the facilitator, if necessary. Each attendee is asked to bring poetry to share, so readings continue in this manner until everyone in the group has had a chance to read. If there is time remaining, some attendees may share again. Our meetings typically last about 90 minutes and are held at a rotating list of local cafes.
We have had a tremendously positive response to this ongoing series. It is a small program, but we have a lot of loyalty from our small group that attends. Since we are in a small town and rural area, there aren't a lot of opportunities for discussion or appreciation of art, literature, film, etc., so a group like this is a wonderful and rare outlet for local poetry lovers to come together and share their interest.
This is a very easy program to run. My advice is to try to keep it that way. Think of some patrons who might be interested in it and invite them personally to the first meeting. Keep the group small and let the culture of the group establish itself, rather than letting it grow too quickly.
About This Library
Greenville Public Library is a public library in downtown Greenville, Ohio. Greenville is a small town of about 13,000, the county seat of a rural county of about 50,000. The closest city, Dayton, is about 45 minutes away. The library has 15 employees, 100,000 titles in the collection and a growing number of adult programs.