Kewadin poetry community showcased in film festival documentary


Terry Wooten answers questions about the Stone Circle, his poetry-centric community gathering, Feb. 17 in the Charles V. Park Library Baber Room.

Poets, film-goers and students gathered Feb. 17 in the Charles V. Park Library auditorium to watch director Patrick Pfisher's documentary "Stone Circle."

The ring of 88 prehistoric boulders were set in place over a period of four years by poet Terry Wooten.

The gatherings at Stone Circle take place every Saturday from summer solstice to Labor Day weekend. A hand painted sign with an arrow pointed towards Stone Circle Drive greets guests. 

"Poetry has lost its roots," said Stone Circle creator Terry Wooten in the film. "I am trying to bring poetry back home." 

The film combines atmospheric music and shots of nature with interviews and performances from poets to document the 30th anniversary of Stone Circle. 

When Wooten was living in Kalamazoo, he would listen to recordings of Greek mythology with his window open while a fire roared in the backyard. He began to notice he was gaining the attention of those on the streets.

It initiated everything to come, said Wooten. 

For nearly 33 years, Wooten held workshops and readings for young poets, which has trailed off in recent years. Maintaining the Stone Circle has since become a full-time job and labor of love. 

Wooten originally built Stone Circle to inspire a sense of awe, mystery and poetry.  

Wooten and his wife Wendi, who does the paperwork for Stone Circle, have had 50 people from around the world attend their gatherings.  

"It has become my home, family and history," Wendi said.

Wooten, along with others, perform folk music, poetry, and stories in the spotlight of a campfire for an audience and the forest to listen. 

His encyclopedic mind can go nine hours without repetition, said friend and audience member Steve Quick, who has been visiting Stone Circle for nearly 18 years. 

"(That) isn't specified in the film, but it should be," Quick said.

As they grow older, Wooten and his wife are not actively seeking a replacement to care for Stone Circle. Having to care for the monument, Wooten sees how quickly the land gets overgrown and would not mind if in 35 years it was overtaken by foliage with a deer trail running through it. 

Wooten believes there is no such thing as a retired poet. 

"The poets, camp fire and weather change, but the boulders never change," Wooten said. "They tell their own stories."

Although a release date has not been specified, the film will be made available on DVD to the public once it has finished showing around the country.