Rhymes, good times, and an invitation to poetry

A group in LaPorte is excited that April is National Poetry Month. The women of LaPorte’s Ruth Andrew Coffeen Poetry Club are beginning their new season – and accepting new members, according to a press release from the club.

Women who enjoy rhymes and the riddles of non-rhyming are invited to once-a-month afternoons of poetry, good company, and the opportunity to go beyond the daily news.

Knowledge of poetry is welcome but not necessary. Members who wish to present a program choose a poet, offer glimpses into that poet’s life, and select a number of poems to be read during the meeting. Some members just enjoy hearing it. Others give a program, write poetry, or both. Anyone can comment on an aspect or line of a poem, but no one is expected to contribute who doesn’t feel the need to.

The setting is informal. After the program there is a time for conversation, beverages, dessert, candies and nuts.

“We’ve found that women who may think, ‘But I really don’t know anything about poetry’ discover at our meetings that there’s fun in hearing the poems and discovering some of the meanings. And sometimes the comments are surprising or hilarious,” said Julie Dean Kessler, 2012 Poet Laureate of LaPorte County.

The poetry club has been going strong since 1938 and was named for charter member Ruth Andrew Coffeen, a descendant of the well-known Andrew family of early LaPorte history.  

“We’ve so enjoyed each other and the programs that in the past few years we haven’t been actively seeking new members,” said Kessler, a 20-year member of the group. “Now we find that we want to share our wonderful times and love of good writing with more women.”

Membership was kept to 25 women so that meetings could always be at someone’s home and therefore informal. The atmosphere has always been gracious but lively, said Kessler. For now meetings are in a small, lovely private dining room at Brentwood of LaPorte Senior Living. Poetry ranges from humor to love to nature and more, and from joy to deeply personal experiences. Poets who have been the subject of discussion have included Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Mary Oliver, Shakespeare, Billy Collins, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, and many more.

Meetings are the second Friday of the month, April through October. The next meeting will be Friday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m. at Brentwood, 2002 Andrew Ave., LaPorte. For more information, call Julie Dean Kessler, 219-363-4626. 

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