Coming March 27-29, 2020
Tenth Annual Gathering of Poets
Featured poetry workshop leaders –
Ilya Kaminsky, Traci Brimhall, Helene Cardona, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Brian Turner, Jessica Traynor.
At the Brookstown Inn, Winston-Salem
Sign Up Here
A weekend of workshops and fellowship, food and readings. Informal wine reception and readings Friday night, a full day Saturday – four different 75-minute workshops, including breakfast and lunch, readings by workshop leaders, then open mic. And a Sunday morning workshop for those who stay over.
Ilya Kaminsky – Conversations in the Air
If Shakespeare learned from Ovid and Ancient Greek drama, if Whitman & Dickinson learned from the Bible and hymns, if Eliot learned from the French, if many contemporary American and British poets learned from Chinese and South American poets — what about us? Where is our place in this conversation? What can we take from it for our work? How do poets influence each other? How do poets learn? Anna Akhmatova called various ways poets influence each other “Conversations in the Air”. In this class — which is a combination of lecture and group discussion — we will consider several examples of poetic “conversations” — and discuss how they can impact our own work.
Kamilah Aisha Moon – Objects as Portals into Memory
Through a series of inter-related writing prompts and the close study of sample poems by poets such as Yusef Komunyakaa, Victoria Redel, Martin Espada and Marge Piercy, we will explore strange, deeply affecting ways to say what we need to say to those who matter most to us through poetry. We will challenge our usual approaches, broaden our lexicons and wrestle with language in hopes of discovering new portals into meaning — for ourselves and our readers.
Traci Brimhall – Between Wilderness and Clarity: How to Tune Your Tension
Every writer has their strengths, but we often tend to over-rely on what we already know we do well. In this workshop we will focus more on how to create a balance of tension in poems. We will look at poems that model a balance of tension between clarity and wilderness, narrative and music, emotion and intellect. We will then use exercises to generate new work that tries to balance our inherent strengths by employing vocabulary, syntax, and tonal choices we normally shy away from. We will also workshop some new pieces. If you have a natural gift for image and metaphor, what happens when you incorporate philosophy or meditation? If you tend to write simple, declarative sentences, how would your work change if you wrote a poem in a single, long, winding sentence and focused on the musicality of language rather than clarity?
Hélène Cardona – Unlocking the Mysterious Universe of Dreams
The word ‘reader’ has its origin in the Old English rædere, meaning: interpreter of dreams. Mining your dreams (or fragments of dreams), we will generate creative, therapeutic, and cathartic blueprints for poems. Meet your self, your selves. Embrace your fears. Face your monsters. Dive deep into your psyche, subconscious, and perceived darkness to reveal hidden depths and surprising, empowering insights. We’ll begin each session with a very short meditation. Using active imagination to stimulate the voices, symbols and images within, we will dialogue with different elements of your dreams, parts of you wanting to be acknowledged, and unearth the starting points for new poems or stories. You will leave this workshop equipped with keys for unlocking the poetry hidden in your dreams.
Brian Turner – Figure Studies
Just as studio artists might move their easels around a given subject in order to frame the most intriguing gesture or moment, we’ll do a series of poetic variations on a subject in order to glean insights into different generative approaches and lenses. As we do so, we’ll consider elements of craft that can aid or hinder us in our exploration of temporal and spatial landscapes. That likely sounds fairly academic, but please know that we’ll have a lot of fun in this workshop. All you need to do is bring something to write with—along with your innate curiosity.
Jessica Traynor – Dramatising the Self
Poet Jessica Traynor spent a decade working with playwrights in the Literary Department of the Abbey Theatre; Ireland’s national theatre founded by Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats. Some of Ireland’s most potent theatrical voices, such as J.M. Synge, Brian Friel, and Marina Carr have launched their careers from its two stages. In this workshop we’ll be asking: how can theatrical techniques help improve our poems? What can the art of the dramatic monologue teach us in terms of shaping our poetic subject matter? We’ll be looking at theatrical writing techniques as a means of creating tension, conflict and drama in our poems. We’ll also be developing our individual voices and thinking about ways to ventriloquise other voices, using some well-known dramatic monologues from contemporary theatre as examples.
We are now accepting entries for 2020.
Payment is processed separately but is required. The fee is $125.
DO NOT make payment until your acceptance is confirmed. Because of our upfront expenses – rentals, transportation, purchasing books for the workshop leaders,etc. – we cannot offer refunds, although if you have to drop out we will try to find someone to take your place.
Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. He is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press), a finalist for the National Book Award, and Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press). He has also co-edited and co-translated many other books, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins) and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (Alice James Books). His awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Metcalf Award, Lannan Foundation Award Fellowship and the NEA Fellowship. His poems regularly appear in Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize anthologies. He has also been awarded Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize. Dancing In Odessa was named the Best Book of the Year by Foreword magazine. Recently, he was on the short-list for Neustadt International Literature Prize. His poems have been translated in over twenty languages, and his books have been published in many countries including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize.
Kamilah Aisha Moon is the author of Starshine & Clay (2017), a CLMP Firecracker Award finalist featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” as a collection that captures America in poetry. She Has a Name (2013) was a finalist for both the Audre Lorde and Lambda Literary Awards. Kamilah Aisha Moon’s work has been published widely, including in Best American Poetry, Harvard Review, Poem-A-Day, PBS Newshour, Buzzfeed and elsewhere. She is a Pushcart Prize winner and 2015 New American Poet, has received fellowships to MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook, holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College.
Traci Brimhall is the author of three collections of poetry: Saudade (Copper Canyon Press, 2017); Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010), selected by Michelle Boisseau for the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award and finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award. Her children’s book, Sophia & The Boy Who Fell, was published by SeedStar Books in March 2017. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, New England Review, Ploughshares, Slate, Kenyon Review, and The New Republic. Her poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Best of the Net, PBS Newshour, and Best American Poetry 2013 & 2014. Her poetry comic collaborations with Eryn Cruft can be found in Guernica, The Poetry Comics, and Nashville Review. The Wrong Side of Rapture, a comic crown of sonnets collaboration with Eryn Cruft, was released through Ninth Letter in the summer of 2013. She is also a co-author with Brynn Saito of a collaborative chapbook, Bright Power, Dark Peace (Diode Editions, 2013). She received a 2013 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Poetry. She works as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.
Hélène Cardona Helene Cardona is an award-winning poet, translator, and actress. Books include the bilingual collections Life in Suspension and Dreaming My Animal Selves (both Salmon Poetry), and The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press), and the translations Beyond Elsewhere (Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, White Pine Press), Ce que nous portons (Dorianne Laux, Editions du Cygne), Birnam Wood (José Manuel Cardona, Salmon Poetry), and Walt Whitman for WhitmanWeb. Her work has been translated into 16 languages. She has received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. With Yves Lambrecht, she co-translated Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings (Whitman et la Guerre de Sécession) for WhitmanWeb. She has appeared on 13 panels at AWP conferences.
Brian Turner is a writer and musician; author of a memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country, two poetry collections Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise, and a debut album with The Interplanetary Acoustic Team. He edited The Kiss anthology and curated the series on Guernica. He has received a Guggenheim, a USA Hillcrest Fellowship in Literature, an NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, a US-Japan Friendship Commission Fellowship, the Poets’ Prize, and a Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. He has been published in The New York Times (online), National Geographic, Harper’s Magazine, and more. His most recent book of poetry, Phantom Noise, was short-listed for the T.S. Eliot Prize in England. His work has appeared on National Public Radio, the BBC, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Here and Now, and on Weekend America, among others. He directs the MFA at Sierra Nevada College.
Jessica Traynor has taught poetry, playwriting and creative writing courses with the Irish Writers Centre and Big Smoke Writing Factory, and has worked as Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre. Her debut poetry collection, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was shortlisted for the 2015 Strong/Shine Award, and was named one of the best poetry debuts of the past five years on Bustle.com. Her second collection, The Quick, published in 2018, has been called “Visionary, luminous and haunted… home to …witches, changelings, the spirit of Hildegard of Bingen.” (Helen Mort). Awards include an Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary in 2014, Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year in 2013, and the 2011 Listowel Poetry Prize. She was the 2010 recipient of a Dublin City Council Literature Bursary and in 2009 was chosen for the Poetry Ireland Introduction Series. She received an Arts Council/ Irish Writers Centre commission to write a film poem for the Ireland 2016 commemorations, and a commission from Chamber Choir Ireland and Poetry Ireland to write a 25 minute song cycle for An Island Sings, performed by 250 choral singers at the National Concert Hall in March 2019. She is currently under commission by the BBC, and also to write a libretto for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, working with composer Elaine Agnew. She is editing, with actor Stephen Rea, ‘Correspondences: An anthology to call for an end to direct provision.’ Her poetry has been translated into Czech, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish and was projected in Edinburgh, Krakow, Prague and Dunedin in 2014-6 as part of the Unesco City of Literature Programme.
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Maggie Anderson – The Poet in the World: Writing Political Poetry
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