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Poets bare their souls at Ashfield reading
By MIRANDA DAVIS
Recorder Staff
Sunday, August 06, 2017

ASHFIELD — Inside the little yellow room at the back of The Inn at Norton Hill, Lisa Drnec
Kerr gave the audience a taste of her detailed and vivid poetry and prose before answering
questions about her writing style and publishing. Her reading was part of the second Writers Read event, hosted by a local writers group that allows for the sharing of poetry among a small crowd.
Drnec Kerr, an Ashfield resident and assistant professor of English at Western New England
University was this month’s featured writer.

Laura Roth reads a selection of her poems at the Straw Dog Writers Guild’s writers read at the Inn at Norton Hill in Ashfield, Sunday, August 6, 2017.

Lisa Drnec Kerr, the featured writer at the Straw Dog Writers Guild’s writers read, and an associate professor of English at Western New England University, reads a selection of her work at the Inn at Norton Hill in Ashfield, Sunday, August 6, 2017.
Lisa Drnec Kerr, the featured writer at the Straw Dog Writers Guild’s writers read, and an associate professor of English at Western New England University, reads a selection of her work at the Inn at Norton Hill in Ashfield, Sunday, August 6, 2017.
Audience members listen as Lisa Drnec Kerr, the featured writer at the Straw Dog Writers Guild’s writers read, and an associate professor of English at Western New England University reads a selection of her work at the Inn at Norton Hill in Ashfield, Sunday, August 6, 2017.
Diana Gordon reads a selection of her poems at the Straw Dog Writers Guild’s writers read at the Inn at Norton Hill in Ashfield Sunday, August 6, 2017.

About 25 people, many of whom were other writers, attended the event, which is
sponsored by Straw Dog Writers Guild, Elmer’s Store and the Inn at Norton Hill.
Laura Stone, administrative director for Straw Dog, said the event started last month as a
way to do outreach to the hilltowns. Every month there is a featured writer who reads and
leads a discussion. The writer answers any questions and the floor opens up to other writers who have between three and five minutes to read their work.

“This was amazing, this turnout, for something that just started,” Stone said.

Drnec Kerr read a series of poems, each one encapsulating a dierent
90 minutes of her life. She then read prose poetry that added further narrative to the same subject. Her
writing covered her husband’s heart attack. Her husband was in the audience during her reading.

“This is a cheery lot of poems,” she said jokingly to the crowd after reading several of the
poems.

Beyond her teaching, Drnec Kerr has published poetry in journals and magazines. According to Straw Dog, her manuscript “Sky Lake Crossing” received honorable mention for the 2011 May Sarton Prize for poetry and her poem “WALKING HORSES” was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also discussed the publishing process and said she tends to send her work out to publishers in large batches.

“I feel like if you don’t have work out there it’s like you’re missing a rib in your body,” she
said.

The event began at 3 p.m. and went until 4:30 on Sunday. Normally, the reading will be
held on the first Sunday of every month. In September, it will be held on the second Sunday due to Labor Day. The reading is held at either Elmer’s or the inn.

More information about Straw Dog and its upcoming events in the area can be found on its
the website at strawdogwriters.org and on its Facebook page: facebook.com/strawdogwriters

Reach Miranda Davis at
413-772-0261, ext. 280
or mdavis@recorder.com.