“Poetry is a mystical thing to me,” explains Rita Coleman, a local poet who lives in rural Greene County. Rita’s debut collection of poetry, “And Yet,” will be published in August by Finishing Line Press. “The title of the poem, which also serves as the title of my collection, just came to me once that poem was written. I like that the title implies that there is more beyond the last line or the last poem, that it leaves everything open.”
Rita, who lived in Eaton until she was six and then moved with her family to Kettering, says she started writing poetry off and on after high school, and has been writing poetry steadily ever since.
She is a Wright State University graduate with a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature with a concentration in creative writing. she has worked as a freelance journalist, a teaching assistant and an adjunct instructor. She is also an exhibiting photographer. Her annual calendar and note cards are sold at Griffin and Co., Town & Country Shopping Center in Kettering and she has exhibited her work in juried art shows throughout Southwestern Ohio.
Given her experience in photography, it’s no surprise that Rita notes, “My poetry is very focused on imagery. My photography and nature itself help inform my poetry.”
An eye injury kept Rita from pursuing photography for a time, and so she focused more on poetry.
“A community of writers is very important for writers of all types,” Rita says. “My particular community is in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.”
She has studied poetry with Pauletta Hansel, the Poet Laureate of Cincinnati, at Wright State teaching and writing workshops, a writing retreat through Thomas More College, summer classes at the University of Iowa and at Antioch Writers’ Workshop at University of Dayton.
“I also read constantly,” Rita says. “There are so many great texts about poetry and writing poetry that it’s hard to choose just a few to recommend.”
“As for poets I admire, if I had to pick one historic poet to hang out with for a day, I’d choose Walt Whitman,” Rita says. “His ‘Leaves of Grass’ opened up poetry form for so many writers and readers. It’s magnificent! For a modern poet to hang out with for a day, I’d choose Mary Oliver.”
As for reading poetry, Rita says, “It’s important to let go of preconceived notions of what poetry is. Just relax as you read, and know that it doesn’t have to rhyme, that poetry can simply be a sequence of thoughts. No one will grade you on your reading experience!”
Rita also takes a relaxed approach to her own writing process.
“I don’t have a particular routine,” she says. “I just know when it is time to write. I take care of my grandkids two days a week, and I’m active in many areas of life besides poetry, so I do try to journal on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday to capture thoughts, experiences and ideas. Outside of that, I write poetry as I’m inspired.”
Learn more about Rita on her website, www.ritacoleman.com
Her collection is available for pre-sale on the publisher’s website, https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/and-yet-by-rita-coleman/
Upcoming Literary Events
• Monday, June 12, 1-3 p.m., Washington-Centerville Public Library, Centerville Library Lobby, 111 Spring Valley Road—This month’s “2nd Monday Authors” program features Lee Roy Young and his book, “Who’s the Greatest College Football Program of All Time?” and Chuck Gabringer and his book “Hockey in Dayton.” Visit www.wclibrary.info, click on “Programs” in the upper right corner, and then on “2nd Monday Authors” for more details.
• Friday, June 16 marks the deadline for registering for the full week option for the summer program for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop at University of Dayton. See www.antiochwritersworkshop.com for details.
• Sunday, June 18, 2:30 p.m., Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Avenue, Oakwood — Writers’ Café, a casual hang out for writers ages 18 and up and of all experience levels, meets the first Friday (7:00 p.m.) and third Sunday (at 2:30) of each month.