About five years ago, I was invited to attend a Macon Writers Group gathering at the Sidney Lanier Cottage. It was an amazing experience because there were many types of writers including poets, novelists and screenwriters.
The most interesting part of the sessions was reading our work, or a piece of it, out loud for the other literary artists to critique. Now, that’s where we had to swallow our pride and place all of our feelings to the side. Many of us artists are quite sensitive about our work. However, those kinds of episodes helped to strengthen my talents as a poet and a writer.
Many times, we need others from the outside to fine tune our drafts of expressions. I guess that’s why editors were created. On the other hand, feedback from your peers helps to improve your work. This group of writers is quite diverse. Macon Writers Group is made up of college professors, mothers, fathers, folk writers, scholars, museum curators, columnists and others from all walks of life.
While reading one of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” I can remember her thinking she was the ultimate poet until she moved to New York and started attending meetings with the Harlem Writers Guild.
One of our Macon natives, John Oliver Killens — along with others like John Henrik Clarke, Rosa Guy, Willard Moore and Walter Christmas — founded this guild in 1950. This was a right of passage for many writers who were producing during the Harlem renaissance. Well, Maya Angelou faced a rude awakening when the members ripped her work apart with constructive criticism that would help her become one of the greatest poets and writers on Earth.
I’m very passionate about expressing myself with words. When our point of view is written, it leaves more room for constructive dialogue. Sometimes, a conversation without a theme can hold us back from understanding each other’s perspectives.
If you like to have your thought process ignited with ideas from the written and spoken word, you will enjoy listening to the various members of the Macon Writers Group from 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the Ampersand Guild, 503 Fifth Street. This is a free event for the community.
Yolanda “Y-O” Latimore is founder of Poetic Peace Arts and director of Like Water Publicity, a media and booking agency, and a member of the Macon Arts Alliance board. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.