When I was growing up, I was always interested in poetry, particularly poems that told a story or inspired. I also enjoyed experimenting with a type of poetry that doesn’t rhyme called blank verse. In Maumelle we have some poets and many who love poetry. I talked to one of our local poets, Laura Loughridge. I originally met her at Early Riser Toastmasters, a public speaking and leadership training group that meets at 7 a.m. every Friday. In her first speech, she talked about being a poet and loving poetry since childhood, so she instantly was added to my list of people to write about.

Laura has lived in Maumelle with her husband and seven-year-old daughter for the past seven years. She grew up in Hot Springs. It was in Hot Springs that her mother gave her a book of children’s poetry and her love of poetry began.

As an adult she has moved from the rhyming style of poetry to the blank verse style of poetry and writes about more serious issues in her poetry. Laura shared with me that writing or even reading poetry is a way to "think outside of the box and think in new and different ways." While she does not enter many competitions at this time, she was the winner of the prestigious Sybil Nash Abrams four years ago which is open only to Arkansans. The poem must be between 60-80 lines and be historically accurate. The winner cannot enter the contest for another four years.

As her way of promoting poetry, she is a member of the Poets Roundtable of Arkansas(PRA). She currently serves as the Secretary of the PRA (http://poetsroundtable.webs.com/). You can find much information about poetry in Arkansas on this site. Laura has been active in promoting poetry in the schools by calling many junior and high schools to talk to them about the poetry competitions offered to students and promoted by the Poets Roundtable of Arkansas. She is also the president of the local branch of PRA, the Rivermarket Poets.

Each year in October, there is a Poetry Day sponsored by PRA and held in a different part of Arkansas. This year it is being held in Hot Springs. One of the activities Laura is involved in is creating challenges for other poets in PRA. One of the challenges was to take a few lines of someone else’s poem and incorporate it into your own poem about the other author’s poem. Here is Laura’s poem for that creative endeavor.

Leaving the Mundane Behind (by Laura Loughridge)

"I am terrified by this dark thing

That sleeps in me;

All day I feel its soft feathery turnings, its malignity."

From Elm, by Sylvia Plath.

"Death has attached itself to me

clinging like a leach,

its dampness a comfort.

I lay myself down at the foot of the elm,

beside the lonely cypress knees.

Mud and pebbles adhere to my wanton skin

as a woolen blanket.

Come night and be with your friend death

and we three shall be as one

and see what lies beyond the countless stars,

hanging like glowing lanterns.

This exit of the mundane

leaves nothing behind but lyrical

exhortations ringing in someone’s ear…

for a short time…

as a bell’s resound."

Mark your Calendars

The Maumelle Players Community Theatre will present Harvey by Mary Chase at the Shepherd of Peace Lutheran Church on April 12-14 and 19-21. Friday and Saturday shows at 7 p.m. and Sunday is a 3 p.m. matinee.

Maumelle Photography Club meets at 6:30 the first Tuesday of each month at the Maumelle Library.

Remember to let us know about your event or organization so we can give it a place in a Spotlight on the Arts feature story or calendar. Contact me at maumellearts@gmail.com.