By Josette Keelor
After the success of last year's free poetry classes at the community center in Strasburg, the Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation Department was inspired to do it again.
Strasburg poet and professional life coach Lemuel "Lem" Whitelock will return to lead Having Fun Writing Poetry, which will start in its new location at Buggy B's Book Nook in Strasburg on April 26.
The class will be similar to how it was last time, said Teresa Funkhouser, recreation services coordinator for SCPR. Those interested in learning more about poetry can meet to share ideas and read the works of others.
The classes are free, but registration is required because seating is limited to 15 per class.
Whitelock, 66, said he expects different participants to show up for different nights.
"Some people are going to find it's something they really like," he said. Other might not, but the experience should offer "room for everybody in every way."
This will be the first partnership between SCPR and the Book Nook, said Book Nook special event manager Connie Stadler, who shared Funkhouser's belief that the Book Nook would be the ideal place for the class to meet.
"The Book Nook is dedicated to community events," Stadler said.
Since November, the area at the front of Buggy B's, at 239 E. King St., has hosted readings and book signings by area authors on two or three Fridays each month.
"In addition to the author series, we wanted to branch out and look at other ways that the community could avail itself of the space," Stadler said.
The poetry classes will run from 6 to 8 p.m. every other Friday from April 26 through June 7, and the Friday night author series will take a break over the summer and resume in the fall, Stadler said.
The poetry series will add to a long list of free classes the store offers, from last Saturday's Ikebana design class -- teaching the Japanese art of flower arranging, said store manager and floral designer Barbara Plitt -- to next month's repurposed jewelry session, which will require a $10 fee for materials.
"I kind of go with what people ask for," Plitt said.
Whitelock, who last fall published "May the Blessings Flow: A Collection of Spiritually Inspiring Poems," plans to use visualization in his instruction of poetry.
"You know, visualize being with your favorite poet or just being on a journey or in a journey and just see where it leads you," he said. "And we've had some really good responses with that. People have written some really beautiful things as a response to this inner journey."
Visualization, he said, "I think that's the main way to tap into an inspiration. Certainly I plan for us to share other poets and types of poetry and Haiku. And talk about the importance of rhyme and nonrhyming poems."
Everyone, from those who have never written a poem to those who have published books of poetry, is welcome, he said.
Funkhouser said the SCPR would consider other classes like these in the future.
"This is kind of a trial just to see how well it would be [received]," she said. "And like I said, with the new venue, I just think it's a great fit for the class to have it there."
Having Fun Writing Poetry, at the Book Nook at Buggy B's in Strasburg, will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. April 26, May 10 and 24 and June 7. To register for the free classes, call 459-6777.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org>