BROOKSVILLE - Al Svoboda recalls with excitement, even a hint of amazement, the time he was climbing a North Carolina mountain and a poem came to him.
Svoboda, who is teaching a roundtable called "Exploring the Poetic Voice" on Saturday, said he set out to climb Mt. Mitchell, and memorized a poem by metaphysical poet John Donne, who died in the 17 century. His inspiration, Svoboda said, was former poet laureate Billy Collins, who had set to walk a lake and recite Donne.
"I was so beat ... As I went up there I was reciting that poem to myself, and all of a sudden my poem came out ... and I was going 'Oh! Oh! What a way to write a poem!"
Just Poets, a local writers group of about 20 dedicated members, is holding a workshop this Saturday to celebrate poetry month. Roundtables planned include Svoboda's talk on poetic voice, and four other talks.
Lucy Basta said her presentation, "Words for Mood and Feeling," was designed with new writers in mind, and aims to help guide them to finding new words to fit those sentiments.
Basta, a musician and graphic artist, credits Just Poets for helping her develop from someone who wrote strictly rhyming poems to more of a prose style.
Christine Cock, a poet who worked in conservation for her professional career, plans to teach a workshop that explores nature poetry through haiku.
"It's not an easy thing ... I love words and poetry together, and I love the idea of metaphor and simile, and yet I also practice meditation and I'm a yoga teacher," Cock said. "So my haiku is about the present moment, there is nothing more enlightening than this moment, and the haiku is the expression of that."
Rosa Lea Addington, who creates visual art as well, will talk about metaphor and simile, and educational psychologist Yolanda Torres will discuss the therapeutic value of poetry.
Each of the facilitators in the group agree on the added value of poets meeting together as a group, reading their work and discussing potential changes.
"We tend to feed off each other, even though we have different styles and attitudes about why we do what we do," Cock said.
Cock said many of the poets who meet have other creative outlets as well, and writing can be one way to shift focus.
"So you get a greater perspective," Cock said. "Sometimes, when I work with my hands ... what releases me is the intense focus I have on my writing. It helps me open up and come back and say, here's what I need to do."
Just Poets' roundtable will take place Sat., April 19 at Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. The roundtables are held from 1 to 3 p.m., and a poetry reading is scheduled from 3 to 4 p.m. For more information, call Rosa Lea Addington at (352) 666-5339.
Just Poets meets at 3 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the West Hernando Branch Library, 6335 Blackbird Ave. in Weeki Wachee. New and existing adult poets are invited to the group. More information is available by calling Lucy Basta at (352) 597-1113.