Early naturalists perceived the taxidermied platypus as a composite beast. With its duckish bill, beaverish tail, and otterly feet, it offended the sensibilities of genera. Some dismissed the creature as hoax, deviant. Audiences do seek comfort in the known. Therefore, it should not be surprising that writers and other artists encounter resistance, sometimes outright hostility from readers/viewers, who aren’t quite sure what to make of oddities of word and image that refuse to adhere to generic patterns or classifications.
When politicians debate the necessity of health care, when racial profiling and police brutality go unchecked, when women find themselves yet again on the streets to protect their right to choose, perhaps it is radical to write with intimacy and wonder about our bodies. This workshop will explore writing about marginalized bodies that are objects of current political discourse.
"We shall not wilt. Let a thousand flowers bloom." — Abbie Hoffman, Workshop in Nonviolence, May 1967
The expression "flower power" was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg as a way to re-visualize war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Like seeds of flowers, war contains within it all life compressed. Because human beings are fragile in the face of it, time seems to stop. The immediate moment can seem like a year. All that we love becomes more precious even as we are numbed by violent circumstances.
Though war has not gone away despite exhortations of the peaceful, when the lens is brought close to the particulars of a soldier, veteran, or involved civilian’s life, we may see truth and beauty in small daily things, little gems that reflect the whole, a fly’s eye of brilliant perception.
Poet Perry Nicholas and singer/songwriter Maria Sebastian are a couple whose partnership illustrates the prolific relationship between words and music. Join us for an intimate house concert/reading, where they'll each perform sets, alone and together, inspired by the other. While they cast their lyrical spell we’ll enjoy a communal indoor/outdoor picnic ~ please bring along your favorite dish to share! Afterward, those who would like to linger will gather by the firepit and share poems, songs, and stories of our own.
The contributions of the female poets of the Beat Generation—Hettie Jones, Joanne Kyger, Lenore Kandel, and Janine Pommy Vega, among others—were a significant literary force field in the counterculture's revolution. We'll delve deeply into Brenda Knight’s award-winning Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution, and write poems inspired by these extraordinary women writers.
Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel Dharma Bums is a chronicle of some of the greatest Beat and Americana authors of all time. Poets like Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, among others, are all fictitiously portrayed in the Dharma Bums. This two-day workshop will adopt one of the novel's central points of inspiration—mountains. We will challenge ourselves, in the pursuit of inspiration, with a moderate hike on the Catskill's Ashokan High Point Trail near the Poetry Barn. By focusing on nature, and the simple, short, yet profound image, we will take notes for crafting poems during a morning hike and lunch on the mountain, followed by a late afternoon descent.
A remarkable mix of publishers, exhibitors, workshops and authors—including two special guests with books of regional significance—are coming together for the Second Annual Catskill Interpretive Center Book Fair at the Center on Route 28 in Mt. Tremper on Saturday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Poetry Barn authors will be reading from their works from 11:30-1:00 in Venue B at the fair. Earlier, at 10 a.m. Will Nixon will be offering a writer's workshop as one of the opening programs. Two venues of speakers and presenters will be maintained throughout the day, along with a children's tent. Bring your picnic lunch and enjoy the day!
Giving voice to written work can add layers of meaning while specifying our intent and charging the inky symbols on the page with emotional and intellectual substance. Recitation is an art and in this five-hour workshop participants will work with award-winning performance poet, storyteller, and educator David Gonzalez to hone the skills needed to enliven the written page for the performance stage.
Play and experiment with art techniques; process thoughts and feelings; document your life! Art journals combine images and words to express a thought, feeling, or idea, manifesting into your own personal journey of creative expressionism. An Earth Day event.
Poetry Barn will be hosting an off-site reading during AWP! The venue is steps from the convention center - a beautiful and open space with 30-ft high ceilings and a grand central staircase that leads to a mezzanine level (the "Loft") - where our reading will take place with a private bar.
To construct the Ashokan Reservoir, which the Poetry Barn borders, four hamlets were demolished and eight moved, some 2,000 people were forced out to flood the valley, and some 2,000 graves disinterred. Residents thus experienced the loss of their homes as well as their communities and the cornerstones of their society: churches, schools, shops, and railroad stations. We'll learn more about its history, reading and writing poems of place, landscape, the water crisis, ruins, and ghosts.
In this workshop, we'll transform the lushness of the Hudson River School paintings into the "black ink" of haiku. We'll close-read well-known haiku masters and feast our eyes on some of the great Hudson River School paintings. After writing our haiku, we'll literally "paint them in black ink" on a large sheet of paper to take home.
We’ll provide the tools: punch, awl, needles, twine, bone folders, paper. You provide the creativity. You’ll learn two simple methods of creating and binding a book, hands-on, which you can then take home with you. The techniques we will use are the Japanese four-hole stab bookbinding technique and pamphlet-stitching.
From planting to harvest, cooking to eating, food has inspired poets as one of life's most sensual pleasures, and because poetry about food is often just as much about something else: body image, love, yearning, addiction. The Catskills' edible bounty is a feast for the senses. We’ll pair exemplary food poems with delectable local fare, observing the unique characteristics of each food type, and drawing upon all of our senses to write the food poem that could only issue from your throat.
At this event, we’ll pay homage to the Barn's cultural heritage by reading and writing poems about wings, flight, and transformation. Participates will be provided with templates to construct paper airplanes from their poems to keep as objets d’art or to launch on a flight to be found someday by someone who needs to read it at that very moment in time.