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Poets find the right words

Created date

August 25th, 2009
American poet Robert Frost once said, Poetry is what s lost in translation. In Catonsville, a talented group of poets and poetry-lovers are hanging on every lost word with the Poets Corner, a monthly program at Charlestown that features readings, lectures, and poetry-related workshops. The Poets Corner is for anyone who enjoys poetry, says poet Phyllis Rowe, who organizes the program. A retired English teacher, Rowe wrote poetry while attending George Washington University in the 50s. After 42 years of teaching, she picked up her pen again when she moved to Charlestown. But, she says of the Poets Corner, You don t have to write poetry. If you just like listening to it, you re welcome to join us. The group has hosted poets like Roland Flint, Michael Collier, and Michael S. Glaser all of whom were named Poet Laureate of Maryland. Room for one more In 2004, retired publisher Stacy Tuthill organized another group devoted to the craft, the Poet s Workshop. There, Charlestown poets study and write specific forms like sonnets, letter poems, villanelles, and image poems. Tuthill has authored three collections of poems, Pennyroyal, House of Change, and Painting in the Dark; and two prize-winning chapbooks, Postcards from Zambia and Necessary Madness. Yet she was reluctant to even call herself a poet until after several of her poems were published. It takes a long time to become an established poet, says Tuthill, whose poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary magazines, including Hawaii Pacific Review, Wisconsin Review, Appalachian Review, Poet Lore, and Montserrat Review. Poetry is about discovering and getting in touch with your feelings, she says. When you write, you find a whole different way of looking at life. Over the years, I found that the better my poetry got, the more precious things in my life became to me. Soul searching Other Charlestown residents write independently. Retired speech and language pathologist Tillie Friedenberg says poetry has always been in her bloodstream just waiting to come out. When I realized I didn t have to get up and go to work anymore, I thought, What am I going to do with my time? recalls Friedenberg. As a kid, I often thought I would like to be a writer or a journalist but I never followed through with it. So I thought maybe I would try writing a few poems. I sent some of them to the Morning Sun, and they began publishing them every Saturday on the Op-Ed page. That opened the door for me and introduced me to so many people. It was really a great way to get my name out there. Friedenberg has enjoyed continued success, with poems appearing in more than 35 publications including Passager, the Baltimore Sun, Antietam Review, City Paper, Israel Horizons, Maryland Poetry Review, and The Baltimore Review. She also has written her own book of poems, November Fires. In 2007, Friedenberg shared her talents with nearby Beechfield Elementary School students, teaching them about poetry and guiding them as they wrote their own works about peace. People who aren t familiar with poetry don t realize how invigorating it can be, she says. Poetry has the power to make connections between all kinds of people. It has the same value and unifying factor that a cherished piece of music has. I m so flattered when someone says that my poetry has connected with or touched them in some way. I wouldn t give it up for anything. A daughter leaves home By Stacy Tuthill She takes with her the engine s hum a trunk full of clothes she will outgrow, assorted cakes still warm with flavors of home. She wishes to stay, wants to look back; but some inner call, as wild as her cry when torn from the womb, commands her to go. She remembers travels of those who left: Ulysses, Jason, Dante, Aeneas, knights in search of the Holy Grail. But where will she go when sick with a wound in the soul, fenced in by husbands and gods? Will she fade like Sumer s goddess? Or Persephone, fused to seasons of dark and light, heat and cold? She may not go anywhere, but some day, at her bedroom window, pulling a brush through strands of hair, and tilting her head, she will listen listen to voices sing her name and find a quiet home within. From Painting in the Dark