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Just Poets Annual Fall Retreat.

Hi, I’m Colleen Powderly, current VP of Just Poets, letting you know about our Fall Retreat this coming Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Gell Center in the Bristol Hills. We’ve got the beautiful conference area we’ve used in years past from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here’s the day’s schedule:

9:00 a.m. Arrival. Tea & coffee.

9:30 – 10:30 Opening Talk/Writing & Sharing Poems on this year’s theme: The Poem as Journey. Bring a poem that explains your interpretation of a poetic journey. You can interpret that any way you want–the point of the day is to think about the many ways poems mean journeys to us or take us on journeys or whatever.

10:45 – 11:45  Morning Workshops

11:45 – 12:30 Pot Luck Lunch

12:30 – 1  Announcements & clean-up.

1 – 2   Afternoon Workshops

45 minute break    Time for walking, writing, talking.

2:45 – 3:45 Reflection and Sharing Poems.

4 p.m. Home!

WORKSHOPS (choice of one morning workshop & one afternoon workshop)

Morning Workshops

On the Road from Art to Poetry  Karla Linn Merrifield & Colleen Powderly     This workshop will take you into the world of ekphrastic poetry. What is ekphrastic poetry? Why do so many poets write it? What makes for a successful ekphrastic poem? We try to answer these questions with input from the group and using our own experiences as poets. Hopefully, you’ll learn a little about ekphrasis, and have a lot of fun using 2 opportunities to try your hand at composing your own ekphrastic poems.

Art of Metaphor     David Yockel         American writer Orson Scott Card once said, “Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.” The goal for this workshop is for us to squeeze as much truth into an hour as language and imagination will allow. Metaphor obviously plays an integral role in the reading and writing of poetry, but its ability to aid in our understanding of the world is even more important. It is a deep well of ambiguity and indirectness that provides opportunities for meaning that will never dry up. We will engage in some fun and playful exercises that take advantage of metaphor’s limitless scope. If you plan to be part of this workshop, please bring at least one small object with you to the retreat.

Out of This World: Speculative Journeys in Poetry      Celeste Schantz & David Delaney      We take the concept of “journey” and ask: “What if we take ourselves out of our present place and time to write a poem which uses familiar devices in a landscape that’s unfamiliar?” We will adapt writing prompts developed by Carolyn Forche to create poetic travel posters or travel diary entries or just a good old traditional poem (of 20 lines or less) set in some new terrain:  some place in the past or future, under the sea, up in a sky city, within a dream state, or even a place not on Earth! Images will be provided for the visual art portion. We intend to get writers out of their comfort zones and to use the imagination to journey far away.

A Calendar of Poems: Writing and Weathering the Year in Twelve Parts     Bart White     We journey through the year, month by month noting changes subtle and dramatic, and feel compelled to write them. Our challenge is to respond to the feel and look of weather, of changing seasons, and to record the human experience of these nuances and moods, and to add in our own. Bring writing samples of your best firsthand observations where weather and mood are foregrounded. Bring your already written poems and plan to write more. We’ll look at classic and contemporary examples of poems on particular months. What are common strengths; what’s cliche and what’s made fresh?

Come join us for a great day of immersion in poetry!

Here’s a poem to get you started on your journey:


You drive down the road and an old

song comes on the radio. You

think how you never really listen

to the radio, but today, this day, you do,

and a silly song, drums like popcorn,

guitars picking like a kid with peas, idiotic

boy singer zipping through your car,

spitting throwaway words yellowed

like leaves blighted with spots, their warts

parched like the skin over your heart,

skin that reddens, throbs, reminds you

under your cracked, wary surface, skin that

strains with sutures, leaks scarlet on the boy’s

words. Spilling, mixing scarlet and yellow,

rivers down the front of your shirt, the seat,

your jeans, your clean new sneakers. They

slip on the pedals. The boy zips to the end,

even sillier, spits out forever as rivers

seep under the doors, slip out into the wind,

orange ribbons flying behind the car, catching,

crushing under the wheels, leaving their

threads on the highway.


One Response

  1. Nice going, Colleen!

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