WHAT: Poetry workshops and conversations offered by Perugia Press poets
WHEN: Saturday, November 12, two sessions, 1:00–2:15 and 2:30–3:45 PM
WHERE: Wright Hall, Smith College, Northampton, MA
WHY: Perugia Press wants to thank and include our community of writers.
HOW: No registration, advance preparation, or previous experience necessary. Space is limited, so plan
to arrive early.
Writing Epistolary Poems: “This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me—” with Gail Martin (Begin Empty-Handed, 2013). What does it mean to write a letter to the world, or to God, or your 23-year-old self, or your old swim coach? How about a love letter to your legs? Why write epistolary poems at all, and why have they been around since the Greeks and Romans? In this workshop we explore why writers might choose this form, and the advantages it offers. We’ll read and take bank shots off some letter-poems to create our own. Emphasis on fun and generating new work. In Room 238
To Submit or Not, and Where, and When with Lynne Thompson (Beg No Pardon, 2007). This primer on navigating the confusing world of literary submissions is for both single poems and poetry manuscripts. Tips and suggestions for maintaining and organizing your work for submission as well as resources to find appropriate submission sites will be offered, with some personal experience added to the mix. We’ll discuss giving readings as a way to tap into markets that could be receptive to your submissions. In Room 004
From the Naturalist’s Notebook: Seamus Heaney, Aracelis Girmay and New Poetry of Observation with Lisa Allen Ortiz (Guide to the Exhibit, 2016). Is it possible to write poetry about the natural world? Yes! The natural world needs our witness now more than ever. We’ll read poems by Heaney and Girmay, investigating how their language borrows the objective, observational style of natural history. And we’ll make our own investigations after looking at specimens the way a naturalist might, and see what happens when we use their tools in a world that is technologically-imbued, in terrible danger, and still so dynamic it demands we stand still and take careful note of it. In Room 002
Poetry & Curiosity with Janet Aalfs (Reach, 1999). In this workshop we will write together, do simple moving meditation, explore what we are curious about, and find out more about how we can express our curiosity through poetic lines that are spoken and physically felt. Fan Chun, a poet in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) said: “For writing a poem, there are 4 steps: the introduction (Qi) direct; the elucidation (Cheng) tender; the transaction (Zhuan) changeable; and the summary (He) meaningful.” These same non-linear steps apply in exploring movement arts such as Tai Chi and Qigong, as well as heart-mind, body, spirit connections of all kinds. In The Poetry Center
The Poet in the Machine with Corrie Williamson (Sweet Husk, 2014). How can we address the way we live in the world without talking about the tools that help and hinder us, guide and confuse us, through our techno-saturated lives? Let’s talk about what constitutes technology (because certainly it’s a vast concept, with potential topics ranging widely—from our garden tools to environmental destruction, domestic arts to fishing implements to female reproductive rights) and how we use it appropriately, wisely, or warn against its harm. In Room 238
Poetry in Translation: Discoveries in Creativity with Catherine Anderson (The Work of Hands, 2000). Reading translated poetry opens a writer’s world to the vibrancy of new voices, images, and perspectives. We’ll explore ways to enter these poems to spark connections and creativity in our own work. We’ll compare translated texts, in languages as varied as Arabic and Burmese, and discuss translation as a leaping off point for understanding variety in language and creating new work. No translation background is required, only a curiosity about languages and the world. In Room 004
Rants & Raves: Writing the Slam Poem with Jyl Lynn Felman (Perugia Press board member). The goal is to complete a short performance/slam style poem in monologue. Exercises will stimulate participants’ imaginations and memories. We’ll experiment with fragments, chronology, and nonlinearity, with writing prompts such as, “Did I tell you about…?” “I never told anyone…” Learning to rant and rave in highly crafted language is exhilarating. We’ll take risks in writing across literary boundaries and experiment with language. In The Poetry Center
Reaching Beyond: Ekphrastic Poetry & the Larger World with Rebecca Hart Olander (Perugia Press Director). Ekphrastic poetry is inspired by works of art, such as paintings, sculpture, or photographs. We’ll discuss examples that touch on personal experience and also create a bridge between the poet and social issues. Using poems by Robert Hayden, Wislawa Szymborska, Natasha Trethewey and others, we’ll explore how poets use ekphrasis to grapple with racism and gender stereotypes, war, and the role of art. Poet Eleanor Wilner instructs her students to “mine your experience deeply,” but to connect to something beyond yourself. Ekphrastic poetry provides a way to do that. You’ll have a chance to start a poem, and to take away prompts. In Room 002
Co-sponsored by the Poetry Center at Smith College and supported by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council, a local
agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.