The literary arm of the Patchogue Arts Council was born with live spoken word performances during PAC’s Annual Autumn Arts Festival. Local poets raised their voices and the audience’s spirit during this day-long event held in the lobby of the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Over the past five years, the PAC literary committee cultivated a wonderful partnership with Herstory Writer’s Workshop. Through weekly workshops held in our gallery, writers of all skill levels are learning to harness the power of memoir writing circles and to use their stories to inspire the Patchogue community. Memoirs of Motherhood: Connecting Through Our Stories was a women’s writing circle that brought mothers of all ages together to share their joys, sorrows, hopes, hardships, and dreams. Bridges to Justice: Connecting Through Our Stories continues to unite human rights activists, high school and college students, and community members with the goal of crafting first-person testimonies of their struggles to create a more equitable and inclusive world. Excerpts from these memoirs have been featured annually at public readings held at the Plaza Mac Media Center and the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts.
The literary committee is thrilled to announce that, through our partnership with Herstory Writer’s Workshop, PAC will be hosting a Freedom Forum, representing the Long Island Region in a statewide literary event designed to spotlight the ongoing struggles to preserve our democratic values such as freedom, equality, and justice under the law. On October 28th, we will be joining forces with Herstory and other partners at the Patchogue-Medford Public Library to host this day-long event featuring a presentation by poet Kathy Engel, followed by selected Herstory Writers reading memoir excerpts highlighting their journeys towards justice. The program will then shift to a town-hall format wherein participants will discover how they can turn their own personal story into a literary work that will help mend the bridges in communities torn apart by violence and hatred.
The Freedom Forum will serve as a springboard for subsequent workshops during which participants can complete their stories. The over-arching goal is to bring together members of Suffolk County’s hidden communities to cultivate empathy and a deeper understanding of the challenges confronting them in the current climate. With the writers’ permission, the stories will be shared in various formats ranging from Herstory’s Digital Archive to local newspapers to sermons in churches, mosques, and synagogues.
In the future, the Literary committee looks forward to continuing its partnership with Herstory Writer’s Workshop while also returning to its roots by focusing on spoken word. It is our goal to expand on PAC cultural offerings to the community by promoting poetry in Patchogue. Stay tuned!