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Local poets hone their craft

By Julia Beauregard
Hometown Weekly Contributor

Local poets convened within the walls of the Westwood Public Library conference room this past
Tuesday, January 17, for a bi-weekly meeting. The group runs from September to May,
providing a place for both seasoned and aspiring poets alike to read and critique one another's
work in a safe and supportive environment.

The poetry writing workshop is facilitated by Lynne Viti, a poet, author, and educator at
Wellesley College, who creates open-ended prompts for the poets to run with in order to inspire
original pieces.

This particular week's prompt included writing a poem about someone you’d like to spend time
with, or telling someone something you’d like to do with them. The poems ranged from
discussing loved ones, either in the past or present, to poems about famous writers, with whom
the speakers would enjoy spending the afternoon.

The poets read their poems aloud to their groupmates before passing out hard copies for their
fellow writers to analyze in greater depth. After everyone had a chance to truly take in the words
of their peers, each member shared their insights -- both what they liked about the poem and
what they thought the poet could improve upon, if anything at all.

While the critiques were being shared, Viti offered insights and poetry lessons, such as writers
“exercising poetic license,” and ensuring the listeners/readers differentiate between the poet and
the speaker within the poem.

“Poetry should not be something that is only for kids K-12, or college and grad school students.
Poetry shouldn't be consigned to the academy and to dusty old books alone,” explained Lynne
Viti about the genesis of the group. “Poetry is meant to be spoken aloud and shared -- and that
happens in this workshop.”

This strong desire to create an environment for poets to share their work with others and
provide them with the opportunity to grow, both as people and as writers, is what brought these
community members to the Westwood Public Library in January of 2022, as they began this
journey in the poetry workshop. Five of the eight original members still remain as biweekly
participants -- though the group has now grown to eleven members.

“I love teaching," Viti responded when asked about her favorite part of leading the group. "I love
hearing poetry of all types. I love watching people who are novice poets get more serious about
their craft. The poets in this group have a lot of respect for one another. They give feedback
tactfully and kindly. They shower praise when a poem really grabs them. Some are very willing
to take on challenges -- writing in difficult forms, for example, like a sestina, or a sonnet. They
don't shy away from asking technical questions, and are not one bit self-conscious about that.
They are intellectually curious people who read and like to experiment with language. I derive a
great deal of satisfaction from seeing what they come up with, month after month.”

Though registration is full through June of 2023, if you’d like further information, or to join for a
workshop in the fall, check out the Westwood Public Library (

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