Photo courtesy of Auzelle Epeneter
Auzelle Epeneter is Newnan’s artist in residence in August-September.
Auzelle Epeneter, poet and artist in residence from August to September in Newnan, will lead a poetry workshop at Greenville Street Park on September 9 at 2:30 p.m.
Participants will read poems from the poetry collection “When the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through”, edited by Joy Harjo. Copies of the poetry collection will be provided by Epeneter at the event.
Epeneter said attendees will read some of the poems several times. Participants will have time to share their observations on the work and discuss how their feelings change across multiple readings.
After the reading, short messages will be given to help participants write their own poetry. If time permits, Epeneter said, the poetry written at the event could be shared.
“It’s going to be very low-key,” she said. “Anyone interested in reading and poetry is welcome.”
Outside of poetry, Epeneter said his day job is working in communications for nonprofit organizations. Previously, she volunteered with New York-based Girls Write Now to provide mentorship to high school girls.
Each week, Epeneter met a mentee. The student was also interested in poetry and fiction, so Epeneter was able to help her develop her skills as a poet. The mentorship also provided some college preparation for the students, Epeneter said.
Despite hailing from Los Angeles, Epeneter is no stranger to the Coweta area. Epeneter said during the latter half of his senior year in high school, his family moved to Fayette County.
“At first I hated it, and wanted nothing else to do but leave, but eventually I found people, educators, friends, churches and so many different support systems that gave me eventually showed a lot of love and care and I fell in love with (the area), ”she said. “My family went back to California, but I stayed and went to the University of Georgia.”
Epeneter said the area always feels right at home, so when she found out about the Newnan ArtRez program, she decided to come back to work on a poetry collection.
She said that the poetry she is currently working on focuses on the clash of ideas.
“It explores the tensions between two disparate ideas,” she said. “If you are thinking about a career, how do you balance that career with creativity, needing to make money as a person in America, but also needing to save time and space for yourself, and where is the sweet spot and the intersection between these things? ”
Her work itself explores cultural tensions and looks back at the conflicts within her own life.
“As a country, we are at a strange turning point that one way or another could go politically and environmentally,” she said. “I think that’s the backdrop to my work.”