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Mountain Writers Series

Writing Workshops 2017

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If you have questions or wish to withdraw from a workshop, please call our message phone 503.232.4517 or write to programs@mountainwriters.org and we will get back to you soon.

If a reservation for a class or workshop is canceled 3 days or more prior to the start of a class or workshop, a refund of 75% will be made, less a $25.00 administrative fee. The reservation may be converted to a credit for an upcoming class or workshop, good for one year, if preferred. For any cancellation 48 hours or less before a class or workshop is scheduled to begin, no refund will be made, nor will a credit toward a future workhop or class be given.

 

Christopher Howell - Finding the Poem in the Poem

In this three-part workshop we will examine how poems begin and end, how image and voice contrast and interact, and the role of narrative (actual or implied) in fostering the sense of a whole form. we will work our way through these topics in conjunction with an emphasis upon how to edit our drafts in terms of their points of energy, rather than in terms of the rhetorics of intension and relative magnitude, how to identify the images and resonances that make poems live, and how to approach this editing as an act of discovery and, essentially, of liberation--from the tyranny of what seems reasonable because it is familiar.

Students are welcome to select sessions for enrollment. Those who wish to take one or two sessions should contact Mountain Writers Series for discounts after enrollment.

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Christopher Howell - Finding the Poem in the Poem

  • Session One: How Do We Begin and Where Do We End

In this workshop session, we will examine how poems begin and end. We will focus much of our discussion on two matters crucial to a poem’s total effect: how it opens (or may be opened) and how we determine that it has ended (or may be closed). Because these two movements (or moments) are common to all poetry and all levels, the class should be appropriate for both advanced and beginning writers. Students should come to class with ten copies of at least two of their own poems, plus one copy of a favorite poem that they feel demonstrates effective opening and closure. enty of writing prompts, we will find ways to encourage readers to be receptive to our work.

  • Meets: Monday, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, September 25
  • Location: Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland
  • Cost:  $285 for 3 sessions; $185 for 2 sessions; $95 for 1 session
  • Discounted prices for more than one workshop will be applied in the office after registration.

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Christopher Howell - Finding the Poem in the Poem

  • Session Two: Image and Voice

Ezra Pound said that poetry is comprised of a variable and a constant. There are all kinds of ways of interpreting this binary assertion. In this workshop session, we will examine how Image and Voice contrast and interact – their differential, their interplay, their effect on a poem’s movement and structure. We will discuss student work in these terms. Please bring with you ten copies of at least two of your own poems, plus a poem you admire by someone else.

  • Meets: Monday, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, October 30
  • Location: Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland
  • Cost:  $285 for 3 sessions; $185 for 2 sessions; $95 for 1 session
  • Discounted prices for more than one workshop will be applied in the office after registration.

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Christopher Howell - Finding the Poem in the Poem

  • Session Three: Narrative - The Ghostly Presence

In this intensive workshop session we will snub Aristotle by considering narrative not as a sequence of related events with a beginning, middle, and end, but as tonal, referential, imagistic, or thematic threads that contribute to our sense of a poem’s unitary result.  We will explore the ways in which “narrative” and “story” can be quite different modes of exploration, and how the poet may navigate between and around them.  Prompts and a reading list will be provided for further practice and study. Please provide ten copies of two of your own poems, plus one copy of a narrative poem you admire.

  • Meets: Saturday, November 11, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Location: Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland
  • Cost:  $285 for 3 sessions; $185 for 2 sessions; $95 for 1 session
  • Discounted prices for more than one workshop will be applied in the office after registration.

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Christopher Howell is the author of eleven collections of poetry, most recently, Love’s Last Number: Poems (Milkweed Editions, 2017). Among his many other books of poetry are Gaze (Milkweed Editions, 2012) and Dreamless and Possible: Poems New and Selected (University of Washington Press, 2010). He has received three Pushcart Prizes, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as fellowships from the King Country Arts Commission, the Artist Trust, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the Massachusetts Council for the Arts. His work has been awarded the Helen Bullis, Vachel Lindsay, and Vi Gale prizes, and has twice received the Washington State Book Award. A military journalist during the Vietnam War, since 1974 he has been the director and principal editor for Lynx House Press and is now also director for Willow Springs Books. He lives in Spokane, where is on the Master of Fine Arts faculty of Eastern Washington University’s Inland NW Center for Writers.

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Annie Lighthart

Neruda for Writers: A Poetry Workshop

Saturday, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM, September 23 , 2017


Come and explore the work and life of Pablo Neruda -- poet of the secret life of objects, poet of the people, poet who loved to write with green ink.  In this workshop we’ll read a range of Neruda poems and try a variety of exercises inspired by this poet who declared, “Poetry is an act of peace.  Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.”  Neruda also said that writing is like breathing.  Together we’ll take a deep breath and a close look at this generous and prolific poet.


  • Meets: Saturday, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM, September 23, 2017
  • Cost: $95 (One four-hour Saturday session)
  • Enrollment: Minimum 4; maximum 12
  • Location: Room 23,  Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland

Annie Lighthart started writing poetry after her first visit to an Oregon old-growth forest. Since those first strange days, she published her poetry collection Iron String with Oregon’s Airlie Press. Her poetry has been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac and chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye to be placed in Ireland’s Galway University Hospitals as part of their Poems for Patience project.  Annie has taught at Boston College, as a poet in the schools, and with students of all ages. She currently lives in a small green corner of Portland, Oregon.

 

 

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John Brehm

The Long and the Short of It: A Workshop on the Free Verse Line

Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, November 2 to December 14 (no class Thanksgiving)


How does line length affect our temporal experience of a poem? What rhythmic effects are created by radially shortened lines or expansively long ones? In the absence of abstract metrical forms, how do we decide on line length and line breaks? How does white space affect our engagement with a poem’s language? These are some of the questions we’ll explore in this six-week poetry workshop. We’ll look at a wide range of examples and use weekly prompts to experiment with varied line lengths in our poems.

  • Meets: Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, November 2 - December 14 (no class Thanksgiving)
  • Cost:  $300 (Four three-hour sessions)
  • Enrollment:  Minimum 4, Maximum 12.
  • Location: Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland

John Brehm is the author of two books of  poetry: Sea of Faith, which won the 2004 Brittingham Prize, and Help Is on the Way, which won the 2012 Four Lakes Prize, both from the University of Wisconsin Press. Brehm has published a chapbook, The Way Water Moves, from Flume Press (2002) and was the associate editor for The Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006). His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Boulevard, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, New Ohio Review, The Best American Poetry 1999. He has taught at Cornell, Emerson College, and Portland State University and received fellowships from Oregon Literary Arts and Yaddo. He currently lives with his wife in Portland.

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Following a River

Writing & Conference with Gary Miranda

 

                         Freedom is not following a river.
                         Freedom is following a river
                         though, if you want to.

                                             -- William Stafford

These tutoring sessions are intended to help serious poets improve their poems and writing skills through consultation and revision. While individual poems will receive careful attention and thorough feedback, the emphasis will be on finding the poet's overall strengths and weaknesses in an effort to maximize the former and minimize the latter. Gary Miranda likes to think of this in terms of a river: "Some poets need more current, others need more banks." "Banks," he notes, "are a lot easier to learn." 

Students will submit their poems to Mr. Miranda in the week preceding their appointment. Hence, the fee includes tutor preparation to read and annotate the poems, and the individual conference session (an hour) to discuss and suggest directions. These one-on-one writing & conference sessions, by appointment, will be held Wednesdays at the TaborSpace Cafe. Request for other days/hours will be considered on an individual basis.

  • Meets: By appointment, Wednesdays between 10 AM and 4:30 PM
  • Cost:  $385 for 4 individual sessions or $100 per session
  • Location: TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont, Portland 97215
  • Enrollment: Individual writing-and-conference sessions, by appointment.

Register securely online through Paypal at www.mountainwriters.org or send check payable Mountain Writers to 2804 SE 27th, #2, Portland, OR 97202.

Online registration: fill in amount on PayPal website, indicating in "Add special instructions . . . " your enrollment preference: instructor, number of sessions, etc.

Gary Miranda has taught writing and literature at various colleges and universities, including three years as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Athens in Greece and, as writer-in-residence at Reed College in Portland. His poems have been published in numerous magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere, and widely anthologized. He has published four collections, one of which, Listeners at the Breathing Place, won the Princeton Contemporary Poetry competition and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He has also published a translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies. His awards include an NEA Fellowship, nine awards from the Poetry Society of America, and an invitation by The Atlantic Monthly to serve as poet-in-residence at the Robert Frost Place in New Hampshire. His poems have been taped for Harvard University’s Lamont Poetry Collection and the Library of Congress Poetry Archive. He lives in Portland.

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