Kingston’s Poet Laureate, Helen Humphreys, will be offering one-on-one sessions for community members to sharpen their writing skills.
Humphreys has teamed up with Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) to host half-hour poetry review sessions. The sessions occur seasonally at the Central Branch on Johnson St. Twelve sign-up times are open to all community members, including students.
The session gives participants the chance to bring in three of their original poems to be reviewed by the Poet Laureate. Humphrey said it gives participants a chance to have their work evaluated by an experienced writer.
“[The] one-on-one sessions are for people who have been writing poetry on their own and want some sort of feedback,” Humphreys said.
Humphreys is the author of four books of poetry, six novels and two creative non-fiction works.
“There are general guidelines for writing poetry that help make it more successful,” Humphreys said.
Humphreys said simple poetic laws, such as rhyme and line breaks, can greatly improve works of poetry. She added that the workshops are a space for community members to receive critiques of their work, which may not be available elsewhere.
“This is a service I can provide, being Poet Laureate, to let people have an avenue to someone who can give them an appraisal of their work,” Humphreys said.
Humphreys said she hopes her sessions encourage a reconnection with poetry that has diminished in modern society.
“Poetry has been more important in the past,” Humphreys said. “But it is still the place that people go to for comfort, consolation and wisdom.”
Her sessions have been booked-up so far, and she said her success proves there’s still an interest in poetry in the community.
“Seeing that my sessions are booked-up and people are coming to see me means that people are doing [poetry] on their own,” Humphreys said. “There is an interest [in poetry] even if [the participants] are not necessarily sharing it.”
Although Humphreys is a published poet, she doesn’t see publication as the only end goal. She said she advocates for poetry simply as a tool for self-expression.
“You need to express your emotions, get your feelings out, think about how you feel and see the world,” Humphreys said. “So, it’s really good to write – even if you don’t have a plan to be published.”
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