The Colusa County Free Library will welcome poet and author Susan G. Woolridge on Tuesday night as a part of its Summer Poetry Series. It’s not the first time that it has played host to the Chico-based poet and author.
She has put on poetry workshops in Colusa County in the past and returns again this week for a free workshop sponsored by the California Center for the Book and Poets & Writers Inc.
For more than 20 years, Woolridge has worked with thousands of teachers and aspiring poets, from all walks of life, in workshops across California. She is the author of three books, including two on the creative process of poem writing: “poemcrazy: freeing your life with words,” and “Foolsgold: Making Something from Nothing (and freeing your creative process).”
Woolridge spoke fondly of Colusa County and said she even has plans to write about experiences at her workshops here in a future book.
“I have done many workshops in Williams and Colusa,” Woolridge said. “I love that part of the world.”
In her workshops, Woolridge offers up tools and techniques that make poetry both accessible and exciting – she helps strip away the notion that poetry, as an art form, is necessarily pedantic and exclusive to academia.
“Some people think it’s the dumbing down of poetry. That’s part of the idea that (poetry) is exclusive,” she said.
For Woolridge, however, poetry is not exclusive. Poetry begins by arming people with the right words – or, more accurately, helping them to see the power of words they are already immersed in.
“I have been doing this for so long, and I see the magic that it brings,” Woolridge said. “I’ve learned that people are terrified of words – not knowing the right words – and are terrified of language being used against them.”
When an individual is awakened to the sea of words surrounding them, they can learn to create images, practice close observation, develop metaphor, and move into what Woolridge calls “dreamsense” – where an individual can explore who he or she is, where he or she comes from, and where he or she is going. The result?
“It’s brilliant writing. People need the words – it’s that simple,” Woolridge said. “It’s so simple what I do, and I’m not the only one (who does it). People don’t even have to spell, and they don’t even have to know English. It’s about literacy too.”
Her workshops invite attendees to play with language and aim to foster a love for words in aspiring poets while providing a safe space for free expression. It is under those circumstances that Woolridge believes “most everyone can write poems that bring delight and discovery.”
Know and Go:
What: Colusa County Free Library Summer Poetry Series Workshop
Who: Author and Poet Susan G. Woolridge
Where: 738 Market St., Colusa
When: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, June 21