Thursday, May 21, 2009

Poetry Workshop

I never blogged about the workshop I took with Carolyn Forche and I thought I'd mention a few things.

First, if you ever have a chance to take a workshop for a few days with a favorite poet of yours, do so. Sometimes they are pricey, but what they can add to your life, soul, energy is worth it.

We stayed in Officer's Row at Fort Warden Park in Port Townsend. It's where they filmed An Officer & A Gentleman. The place is heavy with history and ghosts in the first brick building when you enter park. There is an old theatre, left over reminders of the military with cement buildings built on the bluff where canyons used to be.

I had my own room, but shared the house and bathroom with friends. We lucked out on weather and while it was hard to get there due to the floating bridge being out for 6 weeks, I arrived happy and ready to write.

Carolyn has always been a favorite writer of mine and she's rarely in the NW so I went and it was wonderful to hear her talk about the Poetry of Witness. She also talked about how when she can't write she make lists. As someone who loves lists, I really connected with this. She suggests we always carry a notebook and keep many lists--favorite words, images--and when you can write, make a list of something--bird names, types of favorite flowers.

She was one of the most kind and generous poets I have ever met. She's working on a new memoir, which I cannot wait to read. She is someone who really inspires me with how she's lived her life and how she is living her life as a poet.

Here's her most famous poem "The Colonel" (and yes, it really happened), though even if it didn't, it's still an incredible poem

Here's a poem I love from her book BLUE HOUR called Sequestered Writing.

1 comment:

Lyle Daggett said...

I love Port Townsend -- I've been there three times, once in 1984 when I travelled there with a friend, and then in 1987 and 1990 for the Writers' Conference at Fort Worden park. For the Writers' Conference each time I was in the dorm building that's closest to the Sound, I think it was originally used for families of soldiers who were stationed at the fort. Had a private room, with a communal bathroom on the floor.

Interesting about making lists. When my poetry mind has reached a temporary burnout point, I often occupy myself making lists and working with statistics. I find it relaxing.

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