Sunday, January 8, 2017

Leonora Carrington - Alchemist, Artist, Writer and Subject of a One-of-a-Kind Film

Photograph from the Carrington Estate
My interest in Leonora Carrington becomes stronger the more I learn about her life and her art. I have a feeling that with two of her books being reissued this April, many other people are about to fall in love with her, too.

The House Opposite, 1945

Her book, The Hearing Trumpet, is a kind of cult classic. Allie Acker's film that combines an interview with Carrington as well as a rendition of one of her short stories is fascinating to watch.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Or Perhaps You'd Like A One Day Class in March?

Our Fair City
 So perhaps three days of writing and being away from home is not possible for you right now. Or perhaps you want to checkout whether taking classes from Kelli and me works for you. Or perhaps a March 4th writing class is just so much sooner than September 8th!

This is our 5th year offering a one-day winter retreat. Our focus is on "Generating New Work" and we promise that you'll leave with the starts to at least 5 - 7 poems. We get right down to work!

From 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM, on Saturday, March 4th, we will come together for a downtown Seattle Writing Retreat. We have a great location easily accessible by bus and  with plenty of parking (!).

For more information and to register, please click here!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Poets On the Coast Take Over La Conner -- September 8th - 10th 2017

Poets on the Coast Take Over the Town
Now in our 7th year we are gearing up for the best Poets on the Coast Weekend yet with morning yoga, poetry workshops, one on one meetings with Elizabeth Austen, Kelli Russell Agodon or me, art museum tours and a dinner at the oldest house in La Conner, this village of less than 2,200 people.

If you have visited my blog before, you know that this is an incredibly special weekend where a small community of women come together to create, write, and find inspiration.

Co-directors Kelli Russell Agodon and me
We are already halfway to our maximum number of participants for Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women,  2017. Our lowest registration rate of the season has just one day to go.

This is a year when we need poetry now more than ever. So many of our women come the first time a little nervous about calling themselves poets and by the end of the weekend are creating writing groups, revising poems, and sending out their work to the Museum of Northwest Art for publication.

No matter where you live or how long you've been writing poetry, this weekend will feed your work and spirit. I don't think we've ever met a woman who thought otherwise so please do consider joining us. I'm happy to answer any questions here. You can register right here or simply find out more information.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year Means Happy Poets on the Coast Lowest Price!

You Don't Have To Be Alone All of the Time

This is Alexandra David-Neel, a Belgian-French writer, explorer, spiritualist and some thought, anarchist. She was best known for visiting Tibet in 1921 when it was forbidden to foreigners.  Disguised as a man, of course.

What does she have to do with Poets on the Coast: A Weekend Writing Retreat for Women? The women who come to Poets on the Coast, September 8th - 10th, this year, are explorers, creative, poets at all points in their careers ---- from beginners to advanced. This weekend may be one woman's first time calling herself a poet and another poet's return visit with several books to her name. 

No matter where you are in your poetic practice, this weekend co-directed by Keli Russell Agodon (poet and publisher) and me is filled with writing workshops, optional poets yoga, walking the river path, visiting the Museum of Northwest Art, or simply connecting with other women writers is certain to inspire you.

You will return home with the starts of many poems, new poetry gifts (both literal and metaphorical), and a possible publication on the Museum of Northwest Art (MONA) website.

Now in our 7th year, we have Elizabeth Austen joining us for a workshop on Saturday afternoon. She will also be taking some one-on-one conferences --- a favorite part of the conference for many --- and included in the registration price. We accept poets on a first come basis and we are already halfway to our maximum number of women!

To read our Frequently Asked Questions and find out more details about La Conner, WA (an easy 90 minute van ride from the airport) please click here. 

Each year we have had a near perfect mix of returning poets and new poets. It keeps the group new and established all at once. Poets ranged in age last year from 21 to 80. Whatever age you are and wherever you are on your poetic path --- we would love to have you join us.

Registration fees go up on January 3rd. Register now by check or PayPal for the best prices we offer. Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sneak Preview: Remedios Varo ~ My Newest Crush in the World of Women Artists

Explorations of the Oronoco

Remedios Varo (1908-1963) was a 20th century painter who defies categorization. Her work is influenced by alchemists, other painters,  philosophers, psychologists, surrealists and for lack of a better term, free thinkers., Along with the painter, Leonora Carrrington, and the photographer, Kati Horna, Varo formed a triad of women artists whose friendship is documented and illustrated in the book, Surreal Friends. The fact that these artists are not better known in North America, amazes me. Varos has been recently described as a "post modern surrealist," and I strongly suspect we will hear more about these artists in the next decade. In Mexico and in Europe they are better known, but as with many things we in the US seem to be the last to understand.

The Star Maker

Saturday, December 17, 2016

My Mother Returns from the Dead to Appear on Oprah

Thank you 101 times to the Mom Egg Review for publishing my poem, "My Mother Returns from the Dead to Appear on Oprah." Somehow I don't think she would be very amused. Well maybe a little bit about the dromedary.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Significant Women of the Sound --- Kelsey Par

This is the part of the world where I live

Last spring, a new student arrived in my Film Studies 105 class at Highline College whose writing stood out due to its sophisticated analysis of film theory and related life experience. Before I could connect the woman with the work, I knew the writer was exceptional. Slowly, I've enjoyed coming to know the woman behind the words: Kelsey Par.

Now jump forward six months and Kelsey has transformed from a quiet front row student to a news editor of the college paper, writing consultant at the writing center, and first prize winner in the Highline Film Festival. For now, I think she's found her stride in both creative and practical endeavors. Today Kelsey launches Significant Women of the Sound. The Puget Sound is where we are lucky enough to live (see image above). 

I volunteered to be Kelsey's first subject but I look forward to all the women of the Sound to come. Here's to Kelsey ---- a most significant Woman of the Sound!

"As an undergraduate, I didn't really see the point of investing in my education. How was Botany going to help me become a writer? It's ironic that in order to graduate from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst on-time, I needed to do the Honors Program. Honors meant I could skip taking Mathematics and a few other college requirements. I kept my grades up simply because I wanted to graduate early. Five years later, when I decided to apply to ....

To read the rest of my college dropout story, go to Significant Women of the Sound by Kelsey Par

Sunday, November 20, 2016

News in My Small Corner of the Poetry World

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head Caught in a Kiss

One of the better things happening in the 21st century is the proliferation of small presses. One such press is Terrapin Books, the brainchild of poet Diane Lockward. Diane's first anthology with the press is The Doll Collection which came out earlier this year. With all the craziness in the air these days, I am thrilled to be able to focus on a bit of good news. I've just been told that my poem "Potato Head" first published in The Doll Collection has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Terrapin Books.

This is a beautiful collection of poems with work from Denise Duhamel, Richard Garcia, Mary Ellen Talley, Ingrid Wendt, and Cecilia Woloch among many others. If you are looking for a holiday gift, this would be a good place to start.

Here is my contribution to the collection; I hope you enjoy. Are there still any Howard Johnson's left? The orange and blue signs were scattered across New England promising ice cream and a clean place to sleep. Sweetheart soap was a chidlhood obsession. 

Potato Head

I’ve told you where I’m coming from

so you can piece it together:

Mr. Potato Head sessions with

         Mrs. Potato Head arguing over

         the grocery bill, sex, the imminent

         shut off of the heat. Here in the basement

of grey cement and bare bulbs,

we jabbed plastic spikes deep into Idaho

spuds, added enormous eyes and ears,

       yarmulkes and long beards.

      In the coldness of that house

      I built an empire of miniature soaps

from budget inns and Howard Johnson's

for Mrs. Potato Head to drown

in dishwater: her cups and plates dripping

     Sweetheart clean. We played and played

     not knowing the lives we were inventing

     were old flimflam landscapes

of too much work for not enough pay.

Though sometimes we’d borrow an orange

from the fruit bowl and give it a small hat,

      toothpick legs, and blue magic

      marker boots. We didn’t need maps

      or mirrors to find a way out of the echo

chambers of childhood – just

a vegetable and a fruit repurposed

for two Jewish girls in a basement

      trying with spells and with death-

      defying stubbornness, so hard

     to reshape the afternoon blues.

                    Susan Rich, The Doll Collection, edited by Diane Lockward