CRESTVIEW — Poetry and music jam sessions at the Crestview Public Library have received increased attendance since they began in 2012, facilitator Esther Hurwitz said.
Poets and songwriters — "we started off with a core group of five to seven (people),”
Hurwitz said — gather monthly to share their literary talents. “Since 2013, the numbers have really picked up … we usually have 20 to 25 people.”
Attendee Andrea Hefner credits the club's community involvement for its growth. Members regularly visit local schools and share their work with students. Some schools allow extra credit for attending the group's meetings or competitions.
In addition, enthusiastic writers see the benefits. For instance, the small-group gatherings can help build confidence, said Hefner, whose 16-year-old daughter, Victoria, also attends.
“It’s been wonderful for me, because she is a little on the quiet side, like me,” Hefner said.
And the sessions help attendees improve their writing skills.
“I have become a better writer … since I joined,” Hefner said. “When I first started, I used to focus on rhyming, but now I have really gotten into free verse.”
In addition to sharing prepared work, attendees receive prompts to inspire creation.
“These are subjects we normally don’t think about,” Hurwitz said.
Regardless of what attracts people to the poetry and songwriters club, Hurwitz said the atmosphere allows them to communicate on a literary level.
“It’s magical almost: how people show up, meet and share themselves,” she said.