Dr. Dave Lucas
On Friday, August 3rd, our event for the day was a City Club Program titled "Poetry for People Who Hate Poetry" which featured Dr. Dave Lucas, who became the second Ohio Poet Laureate in January, 2018 and will hold that post for two years. He is certainly has an impressive list of credentials: he earned a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan and is now teaching at Case Western Reserve University. He also co-founded "Brews + Prose" a respected writers/readers series that meets monthly at the Market Garden Brewery.
We looked forward to attending this City Club program because we, ourselves, really like being around poets and other artists but we feel bad because we don't feel that we have ever properly appreciated poetry; mostly because we get frustrated when we try to grasp the "meaning" of what the poet is trying to say and feel that we are somewhat unsophisticated if we don't get it. This event was perfect for people like us!
It is for this very reason that Dr. Lucas is more than worthy of being our Poet Laureate; he indicated that we shouldn't worry about the "meaning" of a poem-instead we should, perhaps, just say it out loud a couple of times or write it out and take it all in and let it speak to us in its own way and, by all means, process it through our own life experiences. In short, a poem can mean one thing to us at one time in our lives and, if we read it again a few years later, its meaning can be entirely different.
That's what Dr. Lucas is all about; he wants to help us Ohioans use all forms of poetry to understand and enhance our lives. By no means does he want to make it a chore.
For instance, he talked about a program taking place in juvenile detention centers where young offenders are encouraged to write poetry to help come to terms with themselves and, during the Q & A, he bolstered the spirits of a young woman who wrote and performed hip hop and acknowleded that hip hop is very under-appreciated from an artistic point-of view.
While we were at the City Club, we got to meet Ms. Barbara Lucas, a charming lady who just happened to be the mom of Dr. Lucas; Professor Thrity Umrigar, from the English Department at CWRU who gave Dr. Lucas a splendid introduction before he spoke; and Ms. Suzanne DeGaetano, from Mac's Backs-Books on Coventry, who had just earned a Cleveland Arts Prize and thus received a standing ovation lead by Dr. Lucas from all of us at the City Club on that day.
We also met and talked with Ms. Barbra Estrada and Ms. Cordelia Eddy from Lake Erie Ink (see http://lakeerieink.org) which, along with Literary Cleveland, was a community partner for this forum. As Ms. Estrada told us, Lake Erie Ink gives young people an opportunity to express themselves through creative writing in a safe and supporting environment. We learned that recently a workshop was conducted involving teenagers visiting from Mexico (who were here to study entrepreneurship) as well as those from Cleveland and the results were terrific.
Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC