Estella Lauter served as Door County Poet Laureate from 2013 to 2015. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including The Essential Rudder: North Channel Poems and Pressing a Life Together by Hand. As part of the Door County Poets’ Collective, she edited Soundings: Door County in Poetry. On Friday, April 22, she will teach “Traveling Through Poetry,” a full day workshop exploring writing about other places. Write On had an opportunity to talk with Estella about her work and her upcoming class.
How did you become involved with Write On?
I responded to an early questionnaire about what Write On might do in Door County and attended an early meeting at the Lutheran Church in Juddville where everyone discussed the responses that had been received by then. I attended the event at Anne Emerson’s where Jerod was introduced to the community, and as soon as he was on board, I asked for a meeting to talk about the poetry community, so I feel as if I have been invested in the program from close to the beginning. Door County poets are well-recognized in the Wisconsin poetry community, but perhaps Door County is not as well-known in the general population for its poetry and writing as for its visual art and music. I hope that will change.
What can people taking your workshop “Traveling through Poetry” expect?
“Traveling through Poetry” is a one-day workshop to explore how poets at any stage might write about our experiences away from home in territory that may not be familiar to our audience. How do we make that experience resonate for our readers? We will discuss some poems by other poets; do some exercises, some writing, some reading aloud and some revision. I hope each person will leave with a draft of one poem and at least one idea for another.
What advice you can give to aspiring Write On writers?
My advice is to remember that writing IS revision. First, it is a process of translating what you see, hear, feel into language so that you can experience it again in another way. But it is also true that the art of writing is open to change in ways that most other arts are not, so it is often hard to say when a piece is finished. That is what makes writing seductive and fascinating. So don’t be afraid to revise until you can’t think of another thing you can possibly do to get closer to what you want to convey.