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Spring Conference Faculty Spotlight: Lex Orgera

We’re excited to have Lex Orgera lead the class Walk the Line (poetry) and host a Lunch with an Author session at this year’s NCWN Spring Conference on April 20 in Greensboro.

Orgera writes poetry, essays, and a newsletter called “Yard Dragon” exploring the intersections of nature, culture, and spirit. Orgera’s books include poetry collections How Like Foreign Objects and Dust Jacket, and a memoir-in-fragments, Head Case: My Father, Alzheimer’s & Other Brainstorms. A new book of poems, Agatha, is forthcoming from Jackleg Press in 2025. Orgera has run a children’s book press, edited books of all stripes, taught high school / college writing and community workshops, and is the inaugural executive director of Greensboro Bound Literary Festival.

We recently asked Orgera about what she’s reading, how she spends her free time, what registrants can expect from her class at the Spring Conference, and what local spots she recommends checking out in Greensboro.

NCWN: What are you currently reading?

LO: The Book of Eve by Carmen Boullosa, a novel about Eve’s version of the Genesis story. 

The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult by Jerald Walker, a book I picked up when I saw a short Al Jazeera series called Apocalypse Maybe—much of which was devoted to the church I (and Jerald Walker) grew up in. 

NCWN: What is one book by a North Carolina author you love?

LO: I love all of AR Ammons’s poetry, probably most of all his first book, Ommateum: With Doxology. As far as novels are concerned, though, Big Fish will always be one of my favorites, so Daniel Wallace is up there. 

NCWN: Beyond writing and reading, how do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies?

LO: I’m a plant person. I study herbalism and permaculture, and I’ve recently taken a deep dive into the history of medicine via herbalism. I’m currently attempting to rehab the soil in my front yard. This is super exciting to me. I will also freely admit that I’ve been a TV junkie since around age three. My favorite shows back then were Three’s Company, Magnum P.I., and The Jeffersons. Today there’s so much choice, it can be overwhelming, and I am constantly trying to narrow the field by getting rid of one service or another. 

NCWN: What can participants expect from your class at the NCWN Spring Conference?

LO: Participants can expect the literary version of paper, glue, and scissors. What I mean is that exploring the poetic line, for me, involves looking at lots of different examples and then messing with them, sometimes literally cutting them up, doing exploratory re-arranging exercises, and then trying examples of one’s own. 

NCWN: What’s one thing you hope attendees will take away from your class at the NCWN Spring Conference?

LO: One of the most important things I want attendees to take away from my workshops is a sense of play. Particularly when it comes to the art of line breaks—it’s all about possibility and new tools to bring home and try. 

NCWN: What local spots would you recommend checking out to conference attendees visiting the Greensboro area for the first time?

LO: Scuppernong Books is not only one of my favorite bookstores in the country, but it’s my second office many days. Vida Pour Tea has excellent teas and gifts and a comfy living room-like space in the back. The wooded trail system around our lakes is quite extensive and peaceful. The restored F. W. Woolworth’s Lunch Counter at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum—where the A&T Four sat in—is really powerful. You walk in and feel the energy there.

There is still time to sign up for “Walk the Line” and Lunch with Lex Orgera at the 2024 Spring Conference. Register today to join us!

Walk the Line (poetry) with Lex Orgera

What is a good line of poetry? For that matter, what is a good line break? In this workshop we’ll explore various theories about the poetic line and where and why to break—or not break—one. So many choices: line length versus prose poem; enjambment versus end stop. And what do breath, rhythm, and image have to do with it?  We’ll discuss ideas, look at examples, and do some practice exercises to explore the choices we make in service of walking the line.