A taste of poetry at library

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 30, 2001

Poet Carol Pearce Bjorlie offered a program at the Austin Public Library on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, April 30, 2001

Poet Carol Pearce Bjorlie offered a program at the Austin Public Library on Saturday afternoon. While turnout was low with only eight poets in attendance, they were hungry to hear the Bjorlie’s wisdom.

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Bjorlie is a native of Virginia with a bachelor of music degree in cello performances from East Carolina University and a master of fine arts in creative writing from Hamline University. Her workshop at the library Saturday stressed being creative in the way of the spirits.

The idea for the program came after she wrote a paper for her master’s degree entitled "Creativity in the Spirits." It was the only paper she received a B for as a grade. Bjorlie was determined to use this experience to help other writers see their spirituality through creativity.

Bjorlie spoke in a lively manner with her southern accent. She is very interested in places and where people come from. Bjorlie had everyone who attended her program introduce themselves, tell where they came from, and how they were creative. Some were creative in gardening, decorating their homes and writing.

Bjorlie spoke about writing letters. She is a prolific letter writer, having written more than 200 letters in one year. According to Bjorlie, e-mail is nice to get but a hand-written letter is a better connection to make with people.

"Letter writing is the most important writing we can do – someone reads this writing," she explained. "We might do journaling, but no one else reads this. When we write, we are flinging our energy out to others. Writing is flowing. When I give myself a chance to be creative and still, sometimes my writing just flows out of my hand into the pen and unto the paper."

Bjorlie brought more than 50 items from her home and had the poets make a still life with these objects and then took photos of everyone’s still life. What she sometimes does with these photos is to put them on display at the place she presents her program. The participants made still lifes out of cooking utensils, gardening supplies, books, glass and ceramic items and dried ornamental plants. She had the group do this to make visual poetry.

Bjorlie is concerned about the lack of creativity with children because they watch too much television. She recommended that parents and grandparents get children outside and gather sticks, stones and other natural items. She asked the group to think about what it meant to have a creative and spiritual life. The group responded with one word descriptions such as: openness, soaring, calm and focused.

Bjorlie says her mantra for life is from poet, Lucille Clifton: "I am not done yet." She teaches with the words of Julian Norwich: "Remember what you know."