Members of the Poetry Forum want you to know: Poetry can be fun.
"You don't have to be somebody up on a pedestal with a book on a dusty shelf to enjoy poetry," member Dolores Maminski of Westminster said.
"We do this because we like to write poetry and be in the company of other poets. You get a real rush from people enjoying your poetry," she said.
The group, which formed in early 1992, is seeking new members.
"New blood, new ideas, fresh faces," said member Susan Tegeler, 39, of Marston. "We influence each other's work."
The Poetry Forum has had about a half-dozen regular members. Its next meeting is at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Carroll County Arts Council Center in the Winchester Exchange building at 15 E. Main St., Westminster.
"You don't have to be someone who wants to read your poetry in public to come to the Poetry Forum," said Ms. Maminski, 43, a branch librarian at the Carroll County Public Library.
One of the goals is "getting poetry out to people, making it accessible and understandable and fun; a lot of people are frightened by poetry," said member Laurie Precht, 29, of Westminster. "Poetry is my passion."
"We're a very supportive and loving group. We love being mentors," Ms. Tegeler said.
Members of any age are invited, and experienced poets with wisdom to share are welcome, Ms. Maminski said.
The poets have had some of their work published in Baltimore-area publications and college magazines, and also publish their own work.
In 1992, they published a volume called "Ashes and Sparks" and sold it for $2.50. In February, they published "Throb," which included poems by high school students and sold for $1.
Ms. Precht, a substitute information assistant at the public library, also publishes a magazine annually called LMNO Press, which includes poetry and short stories from around the country.
Ms. Tegeler, Carroll County's child and youth coordinator, likes to write in free verse. She is an artist, musician and singer and is working toward a master's degree in liberal arts while writing a "psychological mystery" novel called "Snap Dream."
Ms. Maminski likes to write in a straightforward, narrative style about nature and personal experiences. She's also involved in a group called the Writer's Exchange, which meets at 10 a.m. on the second Monday of the month at LaStrada restaurant at 15 E. Main St.
Ms. Precht often writes about "death and destruction," but is also writing a science fiction novel and is starting to work on children's literature.
For information about the Poetry Forum, call Ms. Tegeler at 875-2411.