The Facial Expression Poetry Circle is a community of poets located on Facebook. The group was created in 2010 by Luke Prater for poets to have a place to share their work and grow as writers too. FEPC offers constructive commenting and critique by other members/poets to help improve the poems and teach the poets. The poetry group is administrated by seven people including Luke. Five out of the seven are
the Diva’s of Facial Expression
Julie Watkins, Christi S Moon, Marion Friedenthal, Avril Yospa, and Areyet Wats
*The interviews were conducted through messages on Facebook. Each woman was asked the same five questions. I received answers from four of the five divas of FEPC written in their own unique ways.
1) Where do you live?
2) What inspires you to write poetry?
3) How did you get involved in FEPC? When?
4) What is your role in the poetry group?
5) What makes FEPC different then other poetry groups?
Julie Watkins ~ Rockpool Poetry
1. I am very lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world – Pembrokeshire in Wales, – where we have the only coastal national park in the UK. The landscape and the Celtic heritage and mythology of my country has begun seeping into my poetry in the last year and I’m eager to explore that more.
2. I’ve written for as long as I can remember but it’s only been in the last three years or so that I have written regularly. Poetry has defined me over the last few years and at times it has been all-consuming. Like the majority of poets, I don’t choose to write. My muse often appears at the most inopportune moments. I’ve written poetry in lay-bys after pulling over on journeys, on the shower screen, on napkins in restaurants, and once on the wall of a beach cave. I very rarely sit down to write about a specific topic as it’s just not the way I work. The words always come first, poetry often seems to fall out of my head onto the page fully formed and I then have to figure out what it means. There are often a lot of layers in my poetry and it will sometimes take another poet to point out a facet of it that I may not have seen myself, at least not consciously.
3. I had just finished a stint adminning on an American poetry website where I had been lucky enough to come across Marty Bradley, probably the best-unpublished poet I know. Marty took me under his wing and taught me an incredible amount about poetry in a very short time. I was looking for a new creative home and had returned to a couple of Facebook poetry groups that I had used in the past and was invited to join FEPC.
4. I was asked to become an admin pretty much within the first couple of weeks but having just come away from a post I was quite keen to just write and offer feedback as a member for a while. I do tend to throw myself into things 100% though so I was practically doing the job anyway so with a little persuasion I accepted the offer. The admin roles on FEPC are pretty low key, our job is to make sure that every post gets some attention and constructive feedback and really just to keep the board running smoothly.
5. My day job is as a tutor in adult education so I have a fair bit of experience in adult learning and I’ve always seen FEPC as a wonderfully collaborative learning environment. As in any creative field, if all we are surrounded with is constant praise, we’re not able to grow and improve our craft. The other important aspect of FEPC is that there are no ‘experts’. We are all learning form one another. I consider myself extremely lucky to be part of such a talented group of poets and have learnt a great deal during my time there.
Christi S. Moon ~ Poetry Blog Letters to the Moon
Christi lives in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania and is an administrator of FEPC. She is inspired to write poetry by absolutely everything. Christi was introduced to FEPC several months ago by another writer on Facebook. FEPC is a unique poetry group to Christl. She feels, ”The integrity of the group is impeccable. Honest feedback and critique is provided for members who post their work. FEPC has created an atmosphere of mutual respect which promotes the development of the skills of the participants.”
Marion Friedenthal ~ Poetry Blog Bleeding Moon Poetry
The country I am blessed to live in is on the southernmost point of Africa and home to Nelson Mandela. Johannesburg, South Africais where I have lived for the past twenty years and is, by all accounts, the economic powerhouse of Africa. Since I was a young girl, I have always been fascinated with the idea of becoming an author. In the late 1980’s, just before a suicide attempt, I started writing poetry, my inspiration normally being actual events based on news reports. There have been many periods in the intervening years when I couldn’t find a word to say, and others when I just couldn’t stop writing. Try as I might, I struggle to write ‘happy’ or ‘inspiring’ poetry. There is always a dark side to my poems, trying to awaken people’s consciousness to the ugliness that exists in the world in the hope that it will shock them into becoming proactive about trying to make some small contribution towards eradicating all that is ugly. As I am unpublished it is unlikely that I will succeed in that at all, but I live in hope. The only people who seem to read my poetry online already try to make a difference in some way, namely other poets.
Some of my poetry is posted on my personal blog Bleeding Moon Poetry and I would be honored if you would visit it. I believe it has improved in leaps and bounds since my first attempts and I attribute this to my membership of Facial Expression Poetry Circle on Facebook where I have received much honest and helpful feedback in honing my skill as a poet. I would never have found FEPC if it hadn’t been for Pete Marshall’s poetry site which I visited for the first time almost a year ago. Unfortunately, my muse and I parted company a couple of month’s back so I have not been as proactive on the site as an admin should be. There is currently a poetry challenge underway again and I’m hoping that I can find sufficient inspiration to write a poem that will enable me to not only write, but critique again.
One of the things I truly love about FEPC is the way in which the majority of poets on the site offer constructive, yet loving, critique without offending the poet. Critique I have received on the site has always been given in the interests of improving my poem and never a personal attack. A major plus of the site is that I have made friends with people from the east to the west, north to the south of the globe who are exactly who they say they are (although I do sometimes wonder how recent some of those profile pics are!). Unlike my own facebook page, I haven’t found anyone lurking in the shadows of FEPC to inspire another dark poem by me. For that I am extremely grateful.
Avril Yospa ~
1. In rural West Wales, UK.
2. The details in life. Sometimes a word or phrase pops into my head and I just write it down and see where it takes me. I call ‘what’ in your question, my muse.
3.Right at the beginning through Luke, who started it in March 2010. I have known him for a long time, but we had no contact for many years. Our mutual love of poetry was only discovered last year through fb.
4. I’m on the admin board, give feedback and post the occasional poem.
5. I’ve had a mooch around a few other groups and found FEPC is exceptional in giving constructive and positive feedback to every single poem. No poet is unread. The variety is rich and every contributor is appreciated.
Julie, Marion, Avril, and Christi