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Hone your poetry skills at workshop BY IVY MOORE Local poets may have aspirations of publishing — or publishing more — or they might just want to improve their craft. Poet and Morris College English professor Len Lawson has already started a monthly open mic poetry session that’s proving successful, and he’s a published poet himself, so he wants to help others find success in their own work. To that purpose, he’s offering a summer poetry workshop at Patriot Hall each Thursday in June, beginning this week. “I believe there are many poets and writers in Sumter and surrounding counties who

write regularly but who are skeptical about sharing or even improving on their work,” Lawson said. “These workshops are an attempt to draw these poets out of hiding and to build a stronger arts community.” His intended audience includes “writers from LAWSON Sumter, Kershaw, Lee and Clarendon counties who want to embrace and improve their poetry craft. The sessions are designed for novice poets, who may write as a hobby, to experienced poets, who want advanced training in the craft for performance or publication purposes. Partici-

pants don’t need a college degree in the arts or any publications to attend,” Lawson said. “It would also be fun for a person who has never written poetry but who is interested in the craft.” Another helpful aspect of the workshop, he said, is that poets can get very constructive criticism of their work. “Many times poets and writers will ask family and friends for feedback, and they get only words of affirmation like, ‘I like it’ or ‘It’s nice,’” Lawson said. “In a workshop like this with other passionate writers, participants can receive critical and constructive feedback not only from the facilitator, but also from the participants to help them grow as writers.”

During the four days of the workshop, he said, “participants will learn basics such as using engaging metaphors in poetry and extending metaphors into what is called association. Also, they will learn how to engage audiences and readers on topics such as childhood memories and community/social issues. “In the final workshop, we will discuss the foundations of publishing for print or online,” he said. The 2015 Summer Poetry Workshop is scheduled for 3:30 to 5 p.m. each Thursday this month — June 4, 11, 18 and 25. The fee for the entire workshop series is $30; if paid separately, each workshop will be $15. With payment for the full

workshop, participants will receive a free copy of the workshop text and Lawson’s poetry collection, “The Very Least of Me: Poems and Stories.” Otherwise, the charge for the book is $10. Fees are payable at the workshop or through Lawson’s website The workshops are sponsored by Sumter County Cultural Commission and will be held at Patriot Hall, 135 Haynsworth St. For more information about the workshop or the open mic poetry series titled “How Sweet the Sound,” contact Lawson at (803) 983-3677 or email A Facebook event titled “2015 Summer Poetry Workshop” has also been created.


Not all kids will eat this weekend


School program aims to make sure students don’t go home hungry

Fire hydrant flow tests Wednesday, Thursday The City of Sumter will be performing fire hydrant flow tests on Boulevard Road, Radical Road, Omarest Drive, Flamingo Road, Ridgeway Street, Belk Street, Fleming Street and Wilkie Street from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Water customers in the surrounding area may experience temporary discolored water. Direct any questions or concerns to the City of Sumter Public Services Department at (803) 436-2558.

Proposal: $150M for roads, $70M for Volvo COLUMBIA — The House’s budget-writing committee wants to put $150 million of additional revenue toward fixing existing roads and $70 million toward meeting South Carolina’s promises to Volvo. The Ways and Means Committee unanimously advanced a supplementary budget bill Monday that spends additional revenue. It would leave the state borrowing $50 million to fund an interchange off Interstate 26 and a road to the future Volvo plant in Berkeley County, as Gov. Nikki Haley and Commerce officials promised. The committee’s Republican leaders say borrowing the full $123 million would exceed the state’s capacity for economic development bonds, requiring the state to make interest-only payments on the debt. On Friday, state economic advisers certified an additional $415 million in revenues above previous expectations. The Legislature has full discretion on $300 million of that.

usually identified by their teachers and recommended for the backpack program. Sometimes, students from different classrooms end up being siblings, so the proBY KONSTANTIN gram makes sure each famiVENGEROWSKY ly member gets treated equally. “We want the students to know that we do care,” For some children, breakJohnston said. “It makes fast and lunch at school them feel a part of somemay be the only meals they thing and learn the imporreceive. Some may go home tance of sharing and givfor the weekend and not ing.” have another meal until Aldersgate United Meththey come back to school odist Church and Willow Monday morning. Drive PTO fund the proThe backpack program at gram along with donations Willow Drive Elementary from individuals. Johnston School attempts to solve said Sumter YMCA assists that problem, Rachel Johnthe program with food doston told Sumter Palmetto nations. Rotary Club on Thursday. She said a similar proThirty-eight children gram has been ongoing at from the school benefit Crosswell Drive Elementary from the program, said School. Johnston, a reading interJohnston said that the ulventionist at the school. timate goal is to find a “A child cannot be educhurch to partner with each cated if his or her physical school in Sumter School needs are not met first,” she District. said. “People would be surEvery Friday, volunteers KEITH GEDAMKE / THE SUMTER ITEM prised to find out how many go to the school and hand hungry children we have,” the children who are select- Lynn Bolen and Teresa Kesterson, volunteers from Aldersgate United Methodist Church, load backpacks into a wagon to distribute to she said. “The children ed a backpack full of items can’t choose their circumsuch as canned pasta prodchildren at Willow Drive Elementary School on Friday. stances, but we can help ucts, soup, Vienna sausages, them.” a safe place and that when and the community. cereal, saltines, pudding For those interested in “I wanted volunteers to be they’re in trouble they can and peanut butter and jelly. getting involved in the backcome to us for help. I love in the schools so that stuThe cost is about $4 per pack program, contact Rawatching how it changes dents not only receive the week, per child. chel Johnston at (803) 773food, but know that they are our children.” Johnston said the pro5796 or rjohnston@eChalk. The children with the valued,” Johnston said. “It gram helps bridge the gap most critical food needs are teaches them that school is between schools, churches

CORRECTION If you see a statement in error, contact the City Desk at 774-1226 or

SUMMER MEAL OPPORTUNITIES Once summer vacation begins, some students will lose access to daily meals, but there are several local organizations that provide nutritious meals for children and their families. SUMTER SCHOOL DISTRICT SEAMLESS SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM provides a meal and a snack for students ages 18 and younger during most of the summer. When: June 8 through July 31, closed July 3. Contact: Food Service Director Leon Williams at (803) 499-5950, extension 109, or Summer Feeding Coordinator Stacey Champagne at (803) 499-5950, extension 107.

EMMANUEL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH SOUP KITCHEN MINISTRY provides lunch for individuals and families throughout the year. When: Monday through Friday, noon to 1 p.m.; Saturday, 10 to 11 a.m. Contact: EUMC at

SUMTER UNITED MINISTRIES provides families with a week’s worth of food once every six months. Contact: (803) 775-0757 or visit 36 Artillery Drive. SALVATION ARMY SUMTER CORPS provides each family in need with food assistance once every three months. Contact: (803) 775-9336 or visit 16 Kendrick St.

HOW TO REACH US IS YOUR PAPER MISSING? ANNOUNCEMENT ARE YOU GOING ON Birth, Engagement, Wedding, VACATION? Anniversary, Obituary 20 N. Magnolia St., Sumter, S.C. 29150 (803) 774-1200 Jack Osteen Editor and Publisher (803) 774-1238 Rick Carpenter Managing Editor (803) 774-1201 Waverly Williams Sales Manager (803) 774-1237

Earle Woodward Customer Service Manager (803) 774-1259 Michele Barr Business Manager (803) 774-1249 Gail Mathis Clarendon Bureau Manager (803) 435-4716

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June 2, 2015  

June 2, 2015  

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