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.