The title may be a riff on a whimsical Dr. Seuss book, but poet Philip Terman’s Brown Bag will address a common fear for writers: where writing goes after it’s written.
Terman is the poet-in-residence for Week One at the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, and his Brown Bag, “Oh, the Places our Writing Will Go,” will be at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday on the front porch of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall.
Terman is the author of multiple poetry collections, including the recent Our Portion. He teaches creative writing and literature at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and is also involved with the planning and coordination of the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival.
His Brown Bag will examine the concept of place in terms of where writing goes once the writer puts it out into the world.
Terman said he’ll discuss a few of his own experiences with sharing his writing. He said he’s had “very unexpected and very positive reactions” that were meaningful to him.
“I never would have had these experiences without having written the poem, but also sharing the poem,” Terman said. “People are shy to do that, to put the poems out there. And I’m saying once you put them out there, you never know what’s going to come back. And I think a lot of great things can come back.”
Writers can get intimi- dated by their own expectations and doubts, Terman said. It often ties back to a fear of their work not connecting with the people who read it, he said, but writers should also have faith in what they’re doing.
“It’s about trusting that poems take on a life of their own and can make their way in the world,” Terman said. “People meet them, interact with them and it sometimes changes them in interesting ways.”
Terman said he hopes everyone in the audience can take something away from his Brown Bag, not just the writers in attendance.
“If you think about an- ybody who cares passion- ately about what they do — a builder, a tennis player, a gardener — there’s a natural desire to share it,” Terman said. “People may be shy about sharing it, but they still want to. It’s not really complete until somebody else experiences it and you give it up in a way.”
That is a sentiment Ter- man often shares with his students, he said. One can never know who their work will touch.
“This is what makes the world more beautiful and gives us a community that’s larger than ourselves,”Terman said.