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Lehigh has a growing poet society

April 4, 2013
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Most people who love poetry and those who have never written a poem, know about the flick, Dead Poets Society which was a 1989 film, set in 1959. It told a story of an English professor John Keating, who inspired his college students to a love of poetry.

While there is no Dead Poets Society in Lehigh Acres, there is a group of poets and those who love poems that is slowly growing in popularity and Laurie Browning, an employee at the East Lee County Library on Gunnery Road wants to get the word out to all in the area who enjoy poetry in any form.

"We've been in existence for about a year and we meet monthly here at the library in the main conference room. We have a group of around 20 or so who attend and read and enjoy poetry. Many have written poems and want to share them with the group while others may want to introduce poems to others," Browning said. She oversees the poets' group and in face, created it.

Article Photos

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, famous poet of the mid 1800s, is shown here in her youth. She is not related to Laurie Browning, who formed a poets’ group in Lehigh Acres.

"There are a lot of people in Lehigh who love poetry and we have several who are actually poets and write some very nice verses. The group is an outlet for those writers to share their works."

The next time for these poets and those who enjoy listening to poems get together will be on April 9 at 6 p.m. and it will be held in the big meeting room just off the lobby when you enter the library.

"As a group we welcome everyone who has an interest," Browning said. "There is no cost to attend and everyone enjoys the get-together,"

Word about the group that has come to be known as The Poetry Readers has been spreading around Lehigh and a lot of people have asked about it and how they can become a part of it.

"You don't have to be a published poet, but just someone who has written a poem and wants to share it with others who will appreciate it," Browning said as she worked in the information area in the library.

"We're just a small group, but we have not been given much publicity, except for being listed in our own literature and on the library website.

Poems can be about anything and everything. Many don't even have the usual rhyming that most poems over the years have had.

One of the more popular poems ever written was by Joyce Kilmer who lived from 1886 to 1918 and can almost be repeated by anyone who has ever had an interest in poetry. It goes like this:

"I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree."

With the Internet today, there are many sites of poetry and today poets can publish their own works on the Internet if they so choose. They can be copyrighted and even sold as e-books.

Laurie Browning is not related to Elizabeth Browning, who was one of the mid 1800s most favorite poets. She is remembered for her "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways ..."

Elizabeth Barrett Browning lived between 1806 and died just prior to the American Civil War. She was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Living in England, her poetry was widely popular in both the United Kingdom and in the United States. After her death, her husband published a book of her poems.

Such poems as these that have been mentioned and others are all material that can be read and recited by local poets in Lehigh.

"We really enjoy those that have been written by our local residents though," Laurie Browning said. "It really gives them a good audience of people who not only recite and write poems, but for those who enjoy a discussion of the people who wrote the poems," she said.

Poetry, some say, is a lost art form today, but Browning doesn't see it that way and neither do others who are learning about Lehigh's poet society.



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