The Wichita Falls Poetry Society (WFPS) is hosting an event at the Kemp Center for the Arts in collaboration with the Mystery Art Fest. Running October 4th through the 26th, the Mystery Art Fest is an annual exhibit and auction by local and regional artists of all levels. Artwork is donated by anonymous artists which is first judged and then displayed in the NorthLight Gallery. Members of the community can purchase the various forms of artwork at the end of the exhibit at the Mystery Art Fest Auction Night.
The creative minds of the WFPS chose last year to take part in this popular community art show by adding their own literary art form into the mix. In 2017, the members of the poetry society were tasked with choosing a piece of work from the Mystery Art exhibit as the basis of their poem. This so happened to fit perfectly with the program of that month, conducted by Dr. Lynn Hoggard, on ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrastic poetry is defined as “a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art.” The definition by the Poetry Foundation (poetryfoundation.org) goes on to say that, “through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the ‘action’ of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.”
Members of WFPS took to the NorthLight Gallery to view and ponder on the various pieces of art donated to the Mystery Art
Fest. With more than three hundred different pieces of art from which to choose, narrowing down a subject proved difficult but fun. Each poet then had to develop their ekphrastic poem to be submitted in the monthly contest.
During the week, Dr. Hoggard agreed to conduct a poetry panel with a presentation on the ekphrastic style in which members of the society including Sheri Sutton, Roberta Sund and Nick Schreiber discussed various aspects of how their poems were written and how they chose their subject. Over the weekend, the collaboration culminated in a workshop where members of the community interested in poetry could come and engage with the society members and hear everyone read their own poems.
WFPS will again host a workshop this year on 13th of October, from 1pm to 4pm. Everyone from the community is welcomed to attend and learn about this literary artform. The society members will again write an ekphrastic poem. However, this year, they will be in the form of the trimeric. The trimeric has no rules on line length, meter or rhyme, but it is strict in its line order. The trimeric has four stanzas. The first stanza has four lines and the next three stanzas have three lines, totaling thirteen lines. With this form, the first line of the second, third and fourth stanzas are repeated from the first stanza.
To expand on this collaboration, the trimeric poems written by the society members will be framed and hung in the West End Studio from the 22nd of October through the 11th of November. Each poem will identify the mystery art piece for which it was written. These poems will be displayed to showcase the amazing literary talent of the society members in Wichita Falls. The poems will not be for purchase.
The community poetry workshop in collaboration with the Mystery Art Fest at the Kemp Center for the Arts is a fun and educational way for the WFPS to engage with the community. WFPS was founded in 1931 as a member of the Poetry Society of Texas. Early in its existence, members met monthly in the homes of the members. However, the membership grew too large through the years and meetings were moved to the Women’s Forum of Wichita Falls. With the opening of the Kemp Center for the Arts, the WFPS became a member of the Kemp Center and meetings were moved to the Texas Room at the Kemp.
The stated purpose of the society is to study the myriad forms of poetry, the works and lives of poets, and to encourage the writing and performance of poetry by members of the society. The 1987-88 Poet Laureate of Texas, Ruth Reuther, was a member of WFPS. Several current members are published poets and have won numerous state and national poetry awards. The society conducts a monthly contest for those desiring to compete in a variety of poetic forms.
Monthly meetings are held at 2:00 PM on the 3rd Saturday of each month beginning in September and running through May. There is no December meeting but the society normally holds a Christmas luncheon on the 2nd Saturday of the month. Visitors are cordially welcomed at all meetings.
The meeting programs are conducted by a different society member and feature different poetry styles or forms each month. For example, society member Cynthia Archibald directed a program on Book Spine Poetry in September while member Daryl Halencak spoke on the haiku this past May. Other recent programs included the calligram, villanelle and Vondelet Sonnet.
Membership is open to anyone who has the desire to commit to the purposes of the society. Membership dues are $25.00 annually, payable at the September meeting. Dues are prorated for members joining later in the season. Members also have the option of joining the Poetry Society of Texas and competing for cash awards in the PST Annual Awards. PST members may also enter and compete at the national level, in the National Association of State Poetry Societies.
To join, or for additional information, please contact WFPS President, Nick Schreiber at [email protected] You can also contact us through our website (wfpoetrysociety.com) and peruse it for additional information. The website is updated periodically with contest winners and other news.