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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.

 

Alicia Jo Rabins

Poetry as Spiritual Autobiography: A Workshop

6:00 -9:00 PM, Monday, September 11, 2017

Since poetry lives beyond the rational, it is an ideal container for spiritual autobiographies: stories of seeking, growth, revelation, and even disappointment. In this workshop, we will encounter poems from diverse spiritual and religious traditions including Joy Harjo, Yehuda Amichai, Kazim Ali, Christopher Smart, and others. We will consider how poetic craft can help convey the most ineffable of human experiences. We’ll also experiment with topics for your own poetic spiritual autobiographies, a great opportunity to play with a new form of poetry, and to consider your own stories in a new light.


  • Meets: 6:00 -9:00 PM, Monday, September 11, 2017
  • Cost:  $95 (One three-hour sessions)
  • Enrollment:  Minimum 4, Maximum 12.
  • Location: Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland

Alicia Jo Rabins is a poet, composer, performer and Torah scholar. Her poetry book, Divinity School, was selected by C.D. Wright for the 2015 APR/Honickman First Book Prize and published by American Poetry Review in September. As a musician, Alicia tours internationally with her band, Girls in Trouble, an indie-folk song cycle about the complicated lives of Biblical women, with whom she has released three albums. "A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff," her one-woman chamber-rock opera about the intersection of spirituality and finance, was named one of Portland's five best theatre performances of 2014 by the Willamette Week. She played bluegrass fiddle across Central America and Kuwait as a cultural ambassador for the US State Department, and toured for eight years as the violinist in Brooklyn-based klezmer-punk band, Golem. Alicia lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two small children.

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John Brehm

Reading-as-a-Writer Course: The Poetry of Wislawa Szymborska

Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, August 22 to September 12


To read the work of the Polish poet and Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska is to enter a miraculous world, a world where, as Billy Collins says, the poet’s acrobatic imagination leads us “into the intriguing and untranslatable realms that lie just beyond the boundaries of speech." In this course we’ll read and discuss Szymorska’s poems firstly for the many pleasures they give and secondly for what they might teach us about our own writing. Our text will be MAP: Collected and Last Poems (translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh). We’ll spend the first three classes discussing Szymborska’s work; the final class will be devoted to the poems participants write in response to or inspired by her work.  

  • Meets: Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, August 22 - September 12
  • Cost:  $200 (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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Chrys Tobey

Turn Toward Me: Writing Social Commentary in Poetry

Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, August 24, August 31, September 14, September 21

If writing is reciprocal, if other humans will read our work, how do we write social commentary in poetry that is not didactic, that does not turn off the reader?  This generative writing workshop will explore the creative ways we can make readers turn toward our poems, our social commentary, our arguments. We will look at poems by Denise Duhamel, Matthea Harvey, Terrance Hayes, Charles Harper Webb, among others, for examples. Through readings and plenty of writing prompts, we will find ways to encourage readers to be receptive to our work.

  • Meets: Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, August 24, August 31, September 14 & September 21
  • Note: No class September 7
  • Cost:  $200 (Four three-hour sessions)
  • Enrollment:  Minimum 4, Maximum 12.
  • Location: Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland

 

Chrys Tobey’s first poetry book, A Woman is a Woman is a Woman is a Woman, was published by Steel Toe Books in January 2017, and she has just completed a tour that included readings in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Seattle, as well as in Portland. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in numerous literary journals, including Ploughshares, The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, Rattle, Smartish Pace and the minnesota review. With her sister, the poet Allison Tobey, Chrys curates the reading series, Women Writers Against Trump, in Southeast Portland. She currently lives and teaches in Portland, Oregon

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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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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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