COLTS NECK, NJ – “I don’t know why it’s important, I just know it is!”

   That’s the opinion of noted poet, professional librarian and college professor Flora Higgins, who with professional poet and teacher Evelyn Hampton is presenting a “Poemeo, Poemeo, Wherefore art thou” workshop at the Colts Neck Branch of the Monmouth County Library on Saturday, April 23 at 2 p.m. No registration is necessary, there are no fees, and the program is open to the public.

  Higgins, formerly of Highlands where she was active within the local elementary school district, said her interest in library work began there when she was aided in her volunteer work at the Highlands school by the Monmouth County Library. She went on to earn degrees as a librarian, and has since served as a librarian in Little Silver, Colts Neck, and Newark, as well as in the corporate world at BellCore in Lincroft.

  The Poemo workshop is part of the multi-programmed activity schedule of the Monmouth County Library in recognition of the death of William Shakespeare 400 years ago. With programs scheduled in every branch of the system throughout the month, April, 2016 also celebrates the 452nd anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.

     The Colts Neck workshop, the third one presented by the Higgins/Hampton duo at the local branch, invites amateur and professional writers to try their hand at sonnets, or any other genre of poetry they wish. The workshop leaders will provide portions of sonnets, enabling writers to fill in their own feelings and opinions for completion of their work, and will offer informational sheets explaining what makes a sonnet different from other forms of poetry writing.

   Although she cannot pinpoint a precise reason why poetry is an important part of everyone’s life, Higgins notes that “it reaches emotions everyone has a need to touch, and it allows people to reach out and feel those emotions.”

   The workshop is not geared to any age, Higgins noted, but rather is open to all ages. Nor is it necessary for attendees to write poetry during the workshop, she added. “Poetry needs an audience as well, and we will present our works during the workshop, so an audience is always welcome.”  

   A writing instructor within the English Department of Brookdale Community College, Higgins also tutors advanced students at all levels. She retired from the corporate world in 2006 but continues to teach, offer workshops, and tutor.

    Also this month, Higgins and Betty Neals are presenting a program, “They, Too, Sing America:” at the Eastern Branch of the Library, Rout 35, Shrewsbury, on Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m. That program features reading of the poetry of African Americans, and the co-presenters invite guests to bring their own favorite writings by African American poets for readings at this program. As with all programs at the library, there are no fees and the public is invited to attend. No pre-registration is necessary for the April 30 reading.

    “I am delighted about the sonnet writing workshop at the Colts Neck branch,” said Renee Swartz, chairperson of the Monmouth County Library Commission. “Shakespeare has had such an impact on literature throughout the centuries and is recognized as the Bard who is the greatest writer in the English language. It is wonderful to see the variety of ways his work is being remembered throughout the library system, especially during his anniversary month of April. This will give those who have not appreciated or read Shakespeare in the past the opportunity to see how diverse  his talent was, and how it is still very much alive today