Linda Gregg Visit
By Rachel Brown
Linda Gregg visited Butler University March 27-29, 2012. I was fortunate enough to see her twice, once during my poetry class and again during my First Year Seminar. Gregg is a very natural and open person. She was glad to be at Butler and share her experiences with poetry with the public. Gregg has had 50 years of experience writing poetry; it is an art to which she has devoted her life. She explained how she fell in love with poetry when she was young by reading it frequently and how it “used her body, heart, feelings and every part of her.” Additionally, she has always been in love with nature and that has had a heavy influence on her poetry. Writing poetry was always a love for Gregg and she has never sought fame; however she did begin to publish her poetry when she was at a “death defying poverty level.” Linda Gregg provided her audiences with inspiring advice and wisdom not only about poetry, but also about life in general.
Gregg was a captivating speaker; not only did she address the questions posed by those in attendance, but she also shared whatever came to mind that may or may not have been related to the initial question. Still, she gave an incredible amount of advice about the writing process. Gregg was insistent that poets must live their lives to be able to write poetry and they must also trust themselves when they write. She insisted that seeing is a vital part of the writing process; not just looking, but seeing everything. This concept of seeing goes along with her advice to really live life; to experience life, one must notice everything. In terms of writing effective poetry, she said that poetry must be an exchange of knowledge to be considered good. She said, “If a reader does not learn something or feel something after reading a poem, the poet has failed.” Interestingly, she also thinks that in the best poems, the poet, too, would learn something while writing. She explained that poets should not just write to tell other people about things he or she already knows, but they should write to learn new things as well. Gregg was a very realistic speaker and was very honest; it was refreshing to hear her advice and suggestions for not only writing poetry, but also living life as a holistic person.