Jan 24, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterPoetic phrases filled a room Thursday at the Riverton Branch Library as writers from Fremont County participated in a night of readings.
The event was part of the Westword Writers organization's first meeting, "A Winter Gathering of Words," which invited county residents to share original and published pieces.
The group formed recently and consists of published authors and others who enjoy the written word.
Thursday's event featured group member and Wyoming poet laureate Echo Klaproth who said it is important to unite readers, writers and authors because the art of writing is an "isolated business," and it is useful to have others to "bounce ideas off of."
"One of our goals as a creative writing group is to bring writers together a couple times a year in celebration of the work we do with the written word," she said.
Although they welcome the support of families and friends, another author's contribution could help writers grow and build their own skills, Klaproth said.
"It's not the same as having someone who writes and sits with a page and struggles over a 'the,' 'a,' or an 'and,'" Klaproth said. "It's encouraging. They're honest, (and) they understand."
She described the writers in the group as "sincere and honest people who have a voice."
"The muse won't leave them alone," she said. "I think all of us can't not write."
Klaproth started off the night by sharing several pieces from poets whom she enjoys reading. Klaproth said she is best known for her pieces on ranch life, raising cattle and sheep, and the country life. She is a fourth generation Wyoming rancher who lives near Shoshoni and has published three books on poetry.
Last year, she was named Wyoming's new poet laureate by Gov. Matt Mead -- putting her as the sixth poet laureate in state history.
"I thought it was for real deep writers, not us old ranch women," she told the group Thursday, adding that she enjoyed the experience.
Klaproth read some pieces that described the "cowboy ways" from her favorite cowboy poet.
"They're our favorite heroes with the worn out saddles," she recited. "Yes, my heroes will always be cowboys."
Diana Allen Kouris, who also grew up on a cattle ranch, was the next writer, and she read excerpts from her memoir, "Riding the Edge of an Era: Growing up Cowboy on the Outlaw Trail." She read about the covered wagon her family used to settle in Wyoming, and she described the valleys, cedars and river banks and the traces left by mountain men.
Carole Genero also took the stage and shared her first reading from her newly published book, "Liberty." The Hudson resident said she collected the stories during the 30 years she owned her horse Liberty. Her stories with Liberty included backpacking expeditions, fishing tales and encounters with bears. Genero said the book is a timeless story that she is happy to share with everyone.
"The mountains are going to be there, the trails are going to be there," she said. "I did it for me and this horse."
A book signing will take place Feb. 20 at the Lander Library.
In April, the group sponsored "One County, Many Voices" and has determined it was a success and worth having again. The event, which designates special poetry days at participating libraries in Fremont County, celebrates National Poetry Month and National Library Month. Last year's events included poetry readings at Central Wyoming College and the Fort Washakie Community Library and at the county library branches in Shoshoni, Riverton and Lander.
The writers group meets at 1 p.m. the second Monday of the month at the Riverton Branch Library. Klaproth said the Westword Writers will participate in the Cowboy Poetry Gathering from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at CWC's Little Theatre.
The group's members invite younger people to attend and participate in their gatherings.
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