Poetry Project Leaders and Sessions: April 11-14, 2013
Michael R. Brown and Valerie Lawson, Off the Coast
From Inspiration to Publication: the Business of Writing
- How do you select the best place for your work?
- What is the best way to format submissions?
- What do you need to know about copyrights?
- How do you write a bio? a cover letter?
- What are the best tools to manage your submission?
- What about literary contests?
- Does self-publicity work? How do you market yourself as a writer?
Thousands of submissions are tossed every day by publishers because they don't meet submission requirements. There are simple steps to ensure your work will be read.
Part I: Through discussion and examples, participants in this workshop will gain necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the publishing world. Participants will go home with a toolkit that will help them get their work noticed.
Part 2: Poets are invited to bring samples of their work so that we can offer suggestions for how to improve their chances for publication.
Alison Luterman: Not Knowing
Why write about the things we know, when the things we don't know are as numerous as all the stars in all the galaxies that ever were? On the other hand, consider that the light of everything that we do know casts a shadow on all that we don't know, as even the things, places, and people closest to us are mysterious, forever only partially known...
In this workshop, we will explore knowing and not knowing, remembering and forgetting, and how both sides of that strange coin can serve the poem. In fact, we need both yin and yang, masculine and feminine energy in order for our work to have life.
Alison Luterman: Looking Straight at the Terrible Ritual of Everyday Life
In her wonderful poem "What Did I Love," Ellen Bass confesses a strange enjoyment in an act of butchering chickens. In her poet's hands, the facts of life and death, the bodies of the chickens, and animal husbandry become transformed to include Christ on the Cross and all of life's terrible wonderful mysteries. In this workshop, we will take an earthly activity, be it shoveling compost or scraping snow, putting children to bed, making soup, or lying on our back under a car and changing the oil, and discover what kinds of ritual and mythic associations can come through faithful attention to sensory detail.
Nancy Anne Miller: Tidelectics: Ocean Driven Poems The Bahamian poet Edward Kamau Braithwaite referred to poems influenced by the ocean as tidelectic poems. In this workshop, we will look to the canon for poems written about the ocean, and, then, like the Greek orators who sharpened their voices against the rhythmic sound of the tide, we will seek to strengthen our individual voices as we let the incoming/outgoing waves scatter and collect our thinking. We will go to the ocean ourselves and respond with a poem.
Click on Poems and Poem for Links.
Nancy Anne Miller: This Is Not a Tourist Poem: "No ideas but in things."-W.C. Williams
We will each choose a souvenir from our world travels and view it much like an anthropologist thinks about an artifact. Firstly, we will use the list method to find leadings from which to write about the object. Secondly, we will write an object poem from our list. The intention will be to have the tourist memento take us on a journey into a deeper cultural and personal truth. Time slots: 15 minutes orientation; 25 minutes writing lists; 20 minutes sharing; 40 minutes to write object poem; 20 minutes to share poem.
Jen Lighty: Writing the Medicine Wheel, April 11-14 Click on 14 for Poems
Medicine wheels are found in cultures all over the earth, from stone circles of Europe to the mandalas of Tibetan Buddhism. In North America, they are ceremonial circles created with 36 sones, each representing a different teacher or lesson to be learned from the earth itself. They are a way to hear the earth's song, to learn through direct experience of the elements about where we are on our life's path, where we have been, and where we need to go next to develop fully as humans in services to something greater than ourselves.
Permaculture is a way of designing sustainable human systems modeled on nature, and will be incorporated into the workshop through observation and application of its principles in the form of writing prompts and critical feedback. Through the course of the weekend, participants will wander and write, coming back to the group where they will be guided to weave the raw material they've gathered into well-wrought poems through a variety of writing exercises, including critique for those who want it. The weekend will culminate with the construction of a medicine wheel. This workshop is open to all ages and levels of writers, including people who think they are not poets! Offered by donation.
Myra Shapiro: Time: The World/Whirl of Beginnings, Middles and Endings
Thinking of Ourselves in Relationship, in Community
How We Enter, Do Our Dance, Then Leave, to Return
"I Am Not I" (Jimenez): Beginnings, Seeing and Being Seen
"The Robert Bly": The World That's Outside
Susan Littlefield: Embodied Poets: Body as Muse/Breath as Inspiration
We will practice "dropping into the body" through a series of movement, breath and relaxation exercises to shift awareness and access our intuitive, creative centers. Playful, restorative and fun, these activities will connect us to our poetic joy and embodied inspiration. There will be opportunities to move, stretch, breathe, write, draw, be still, rest and relax. This workshop will grant you permission to slow down and integrate in the midst of this fabulously stimulating weekend.
Grace Luddy: How to be a Photographer in a Beautiful World
Living on Block Island has helped me develop a photographic method that is grounded in a deepening relationship with this beautiful island. I have found when I teach this method that it helps people to develop confidence in their own photographic sight. At any technical level and with any equipment, it enables them to create pictures that are personal to them, and full of energy, beauty and life.
In this two-hour workshop, I will tell stories and show photographs that demonstrate the concepts and steps of this approach. I will introduce different ways to experience the gift of sight...as a hunter, lover, gatherer, and as child. I will point to photographs, not as our primary purpose in this method, but as artifacts of what is most important...the fact that we are out in the world, in a relationship, giving it our full attention. I will discuss cameras as useful tools for expanding our visual awareness. I will explore in the context of photography the dance between planning and surprise, skill and intuition, trying really hard and letting it come. I will discuss the generosity of the world as it presents itself to photographers...the abundance of beauty...the forgiveness of mistakes, and I will briefly touch on "dabhar," Matthew Fox's word for the way that all of us, in any creative endeavor, are welcomed to participate at any moment in the ongoing creation of the world.
A second two-hour workshop is possible as an experiential sequel to the first one. We can bring our awareness to ways of seeing and witness how it is human to move between sight and language. If there is interest, we can also explore specific photographic issues. Participants personal goals in photography, uses, cost and sources for equipment and materials, how to learn technique, how to exploit the characteristics of cameras to create powerful pictures.
Arrangements for individual photographic instruction can be scheduled for sessions which can occur on the island or through virtual means, after the conclusion of the Poetry Project.
Kim Gaffett, First Warden of Block Island and Director of the Ocean View Foundation
Maggie Komosinski, Block Island Poetry Project Poet
Words on the Wing: A Bird Walk with Poetry
A naturalist and a poet will lead a walk on Block Island with stops for birds and the reading of poems about birds.
For the names of birds seen and poems read, click here.
Mark Bailey: Positive Outcomes in a Precarious World: A Rock Balancing Workshop
What is fleeting in our world, and what lasts? What is the power of human intention? Can a rock that has existed for hundreds of millions of years, and that will persist for just as long hence, be changed by a moment of standing tall among the stars? Get ready to reconsider your assumptions and to experience firsthand the power of positive thought at this workshop on rock balancing. Bring a poem to read that touches on themes of balance, ephemerality, and permanence. Bring a pen and paper and be ready for inspiration to strike on the spot. Or just scribe with finger to sand, and celebrate the passage of time as wind and water wash your imprint away.
Balancing rocks is a meditative act. It is an exercise in, and celebration of, the power of visualizing positive outcomes.
The work is a selection of, and a vehicle for, our own quest for inner stillness. Mark likes to call his ephemeral creations "positive outcomes in a precarious world." The practice of building cairns on the beach is a tradition on Block Island. The specific technique of balancing single rocks with maximum delicacy was inspired by Roark Loedy, who learned from Pete Jacobs.
During this hands-on, outdoor workshop, Mark will share attitudes and techniques behind ephemeral creations depicted in his photographs, which will be on display at the Block Island Airport beginning April 12. Specifically, in addition to the actual practice of balancing, Mark will cover photographic techniques that portray the delicateness of the balance to maximum effect, capture the full drama of the scene, and present the sculpture in deep context.
Mark will also read the poem "Cake and Ice Cream," by Jenny Martinez, which was the inspiration for the image "Balanced Rock with Meteor" shown with this profile. Expect to come out of this workshop with a new pastime, a
quieter mind, and a revitalized sense for what is possible.
To view photos from this workshop, go to: http://flickr.com/gp/baileyblack/UzA465/