Whatever form it ultimately takes, a poem will reflect memories, insights and experiences. Indiana’s poet laureate seems to be on a mission to encourage everyone to find those meaningful words.
“I knew we had many, many wonderful Indiana poets. As I’ve gone around promoting reading and writing of poetry, though, it’s probably triple the number I believed it was,” says Shari Wagner, an Elkhart County native who is serving a two-year stint as a Hoosier literary ambassador. “Everyone can explore their personal experiences. But until you start writing, it’s almost, ‘I didn’t know I knew that until I wrote that!’”
Among her dozen or so public appearances this month, Wagner will visit Elkhart Public Library’s downtown location for two events Tuesday, April 25.
She’ll be helping writers explore a childhood memory or place during a 5:30 p.m. workshop. Seating is limited, and reservations can be made here.
That evening at 7, she’ll be joined by local poets Jake Webster, Andrew Kreider, Dorothy Jean Carter, John Homan and Alyse Chinnock for a reading in the newly remodeled library atrium.
Both events are free.
“I teach poetry as memoir a lot as a way for people to see their experiences again, and perhaps see them differently as the years go by,” says Wagner. “… I find it meaningful to give a prompt and allow people to move freely, to paint a picture with their words and explore. In writing about a (specific) topic, people can bring themselves to it.”
Wagner still has strong ties to the area. Recently, she has been putting the finishing touches on a manuscript about Mennonite farm life. And her work, “The Lerner Theatre, 1953,” was featured in an anthology published by the Indiana Writers Center to celebrate last year’s state bicentennial.
“The Lerner piece is my mother’s memory – a wonderful family story I didn’t know about until I started working on it,” Wagner says. “I spent quite a bit of time researching it, too – talking with Phil Miller, whose father owned the building, and visiting with ushers who shared many of those same memories at kids from that time period.”
With April designated National Poetry Month, she has been a particularly busy. Wagner is selecting a poem a day for Indiana Humanities, and she also maintains her own site, publishing reader submissions based on writing prompts she’s picked.
The Indiana poet laureate title fits well, as Wagner says she draws incredible inspiration from the state’s natural beauty and history.
“Poetry is about sharing,” she says, “It’s how we can connect people, places and memories we’ve had.”
(This article was published originally in The Hart, a publication of the Goshen News)
Shari Wagner, Indiana’s poet laureate, will lead two events at our downtown location on Tuesday, April 25.
* Writers workshop – Aspiring writers are invited to work with Shari on using poetry as a form of memoir writing. Registration is requested. See full details here.
* Poetic Elkhart – Shari will be joined by local poets in a reading and presentation from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the library atrium. This special after-hours event is free and open to the public. Among the local readers will be Dorothy Jean Carter, John Homan, Jake Webster and Alyse Chinnock
Learn more about Shari at shariwagnerpoet.com
Your kids love to see these stories come to life through games, music and crafts. All of these Elkhart Public Library events start at 10 a.m.
Bring your camera, capture the fun, and tag us on Instagram.
We ask you register in advance at the links, and children must be accompanied by an adult caregiver. Please call or email with any questions.
Class sizes are limited – reserve your spot now by contacting the Public Computer Center at the Main Library, (574) 294-2847.
What do you want to learn? How to save files? Cut and paste? Email attachments? Library resources? Ebooks? Something else? Bring your questions, along with your laptop, phone or device for 30 minutes of individual training just for you! No mobile device? No problem. We will use a library computer. Start working on your list of questions!
Thursday, April 6 • 9:30-11:30 am
Monday, April 10 • 5:30-7:30 pm
Thursday, April 13 • 2:30-4:30 pm
Monday, May 8 • 5:30-7:30 pm
Thursday, May 11 • 2:30-4:30 pm
Thursday, May 18 • 9:30-11:30 am
BASIC MICROSOFT EXCEL 2010
Learn to work with spreadsheets, rows, columns and cells. Change the style, size and color of fonts. Justify text and cut, copy, and paste. Format numbers as percentages, currency, etc., and sort that data. You must know how to use a mouse to attend this class.
INTERMEDIATE MICROSOFT EXCEL 2010
When you have completed Basic Microsoft Excel 2010, sign up for this class to learn about:
- Charts and worksheet references;
- COUNT(), MIN(), MAX() and AVERAGE() aggregate functions; and
- Importing/exporting delimited files, etc.
You must know how to use a mouse to attend this class.
Advance registration is required for all computer classes. Sign up by contacting the Main Library Public Computer Center at (574) 294-2847.
What’s more fun than a free movie? A free movie with free popcorn! Enjoy these flicks downtown at the Main Library.
Main Midweek Movie
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (PG-13)
Wednesday, April 5 • 6:00 pm
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (PG-13)
Wednesday, April 19 • 6:00 pm
Wednesday, May 3 • 6:00 pm
THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (R)
Wednesday, May 17 • 6:00 pm
A DOG’S PURPOSE (PG)
Wednesday, May 31 • 6:00 pm
Fun Family Movie
Wednesday, April 5 • 3:00 pm
Wednesday, May 10 • 4:00 pm