Article appeared in the May 12, 2011 issue of the Interlake Spectator…
A small, but devoted, group of poets and painters gathered at the New Iceland Heritage Museum for the “Poetry Challenge” on April 27th, 2011. The challenge drew attention to, both, the museum’s art exhibit, called “the Lake”, and to the impressive talents of the Lake Winnipeg Writers Group (LWWG).
Participants were given 45 minutes to ponder the works of art that surrounded them, to become inspired, and then to write poetry.
Eleven people attended, eight of them members of the LWWG. Several of the writers were also visual artists who took up the writing challenge.
Fredrich Bieber who is neither a writer nor an artist, but as he said, “just an average Joe”, was asked to put on a judge’s hat. Bieber had been a judge when in Toastmasters, and is a long-time member of Sacred Circle Dancing group that regularly meets in Gimli, as well as a friend to many of the writers and artists in attendance.
After the readings, and once three of the poets were deemed “winners” (though, clearly, there were no losers) Bieber gave feedback in the form of a poetic impression of the poem in question, much like poetry replying to a poem.
The three readers, whose work could indubitably stand among the best, were Bill Martin, Debra Dusome, and Helma RogueRaiders.
Martin, who has been involved with LWWG for a couple years, wrote two poems prior to the challenge event, but his untitled poem, written on the spot, was the one that won the night. It was inspired by photographer, Raven’s, “the Lake Lives!”, a collage of unaltered lake photographs, snapshots of lake life framed like a page out of a photo album.
His deceptively simple poem reverberated with deeper meanings. Each perfectly placed word said precisely enough:
“if you look / for God/ you will find/ her everywhere/ come to the lake/ live here/ understand/ the scale of things/ love your size/ take your place” (Author: Bill Martin)
Martin, originally from a farm in Cadillac, Saskatchewan, has been writing poetry for 40 years, but only began publishing his work after becoming involved with LWWG . He is one of the authors of “Voices”, an anthology of poems and short stories put out by LWWG on a regular basis.
Dusome, President LWWG, also put on a stellar performance with three of her poems written in the 45 minute time frame. She has been writing since age seven or eight, and her affinity with words is evident. Her writing was filled with humour, wisdom, and sensuality, and conveys an inner strength. Dusome, who also works in the field of Psychiatric Nursing, says she frequently writes from life. One of her poems was based on the painting by Linda Fehr, entitled “Morning Alive”.
“I saw the morning light. The whole idea was about what gives you hope,” she remarked.
Through her poetry Dusome captured the sense of hope that was conveyed in Fehr’s peaceful, yet energetic, painting.
RogueRaiders chose to write about Millie Flaig-Hooper’s hand-made paper art, called “The Lake Connection”, created with 11 separate pieces that were assembled in the form of a globe on a black background, each connected by a line.
“It just pulled me in every time I came into this room: The magnetism of the sphere floating in the universe (like a boat). Humanity is in that boat, floating through the universe. We’re busy shooting holes in the boat,” said RogueRaiders.
If you love poetry and regret missing this wonderful event, there is ample opportunity to wax eloquent in Gimli:
• The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba’s poetry and short story writing contest is upcoming for all age groups. Cash prizes, valued from $35 to $100, will be awarded. The closing date is May 15, 2011. Contact the New Icelandic Heritage Museum for more information.
• The Lake Winnipeg Writers Group meets monthly to share their work, and always welcomes new members. To find out more about membership, contact any LWWG member.