Mountain Writers Series
Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, March 21 - April 18, 2017
How does mythology help us consider difficult subjects—subjects that seem to have no course but cliche? Consider a poem from Charles Simic about the ferryman, Charon, gathering more bodies by the shore. Or Louise Gluck writing about Penelope, Odysseus, and the events of the Odyssey as she addresses the dissolution of her own marriage. The most difficult subjects often push us to ancient stories or other myths as anchors. In the first two weeks, we’ll examine mythology as considered by accomplished contemporary poets -- among them Anne Carson, Kathleen Graber, and Carl Phillips. The remaining class sessions will be dedicated to working on poems by workshop participants, as we consider approaches to our own difficult subjects.
The remaining class sessions will be dedicated to working on poems by the workshop participants, considering the craft of our own difficult subjects, and how mythology can function as a frame for these pieces that seem to stick in our heads, but need a push to make it to the page.
Matthew Minicucci is the author of two collections of poetry: Translation (Kent State University Press, 2015), chosen by Jane Hirshfield for the 2014 Wick Poetry Prize, and Small Gods, forthcoming from New Issues Press in 2017. He is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Wick Poetry Center, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also received his MFA. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2014, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, and The Southern Review, among others.
Saturday, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, April 1, 2017
A poet’s impulse to write is often connected to troubling situations, memories, relationships, longings. In consequence there is often, in composition, a fierce drive against the weight driving the creative impulse. Sometimes this keeps us honest and on task; often it promotes a kind of rigidity and reliance on habitual attitudes and practices. This class will be about loosening up, about gaining more direct access to the kind of creative energy that allows real insight, real departure from the tropes and structures with which we are familiar. There will be in-class writing, but students are also asked to bring ten copies of two poems that they feel are somehow unlike what they usually write, and one copy of a poem by someone else that promotes for them a sense of great possibility.
Christopher Howell is the author of the forthcoming collection, Love’s Last Number: Poems (Milkweed Editions, February 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. He teaches at Eastern Washington University’s Inland NW Center for Writers, in Spokane, where he is also director and principal editor for Lynx House Press.
Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, April 3 - May 8, 2017
Too often we limit the range of our poems to lyric and narrative modes, either presenting a series of images or telling a story. But the greatest poetry gives us sustained thinking as well as seeing and saying. And the kind of thinking poets do involves the whole person—mind, heart, body, and spirit—and draws on everything from experience and memory to imagination and desire. In this six-week poetry workshop, weekly readings and prompts will encourage you to think expansively, freely, daringly in your poems.
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 in Portland.Register now! Only 3 spaces left.
Thursdays, 6:30 - 9:30 PM, April 6 - May 11, 2017 [no class April 20]
Writing for the Stage. This is a beginning playwriting workshop for the eager amateur, the emerging professional, or the curious writer exploring a new medium. No previous experience with playwriting necessary — although it's good if you've seen some plays. We will read and discuss plot, character, dialogue, theme, spectacle and pace, as we write and workshop one-act plays.
Gay Monteverde is the author of two published plays: Harriet Tubman: An American Moses, which was a finalist for the American Alliance of Theater and Education's Best New Play Award, and The Arabian Nights, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award's Angus Bowmer Award for Drama. Both plays premiered in Portland, are published by Playscripts, Inc. in New York City, and have had productions in locations as far-ranging as Tasmania and Kentucky. Monteverde's third play was part of HART's recent Page to Stage showcase. She has taught college writing courses, including playwriting and creative writing, for over a decade in Portland.
Saturday, 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM, April 15, 2017
In this workshop, we’ll look at a variety of tips, prompts and techniques to find ways of generating new poems: imaginative leaps, risks, revelations, confessions. Workshop participants are encouraged to bring ten copies of poems in progress – or their ideas for poems – to discuss and share. We will also do several in-class writing exercises to discuss and share. Both beginning and experienced writers will be encouraged to unleash and explore the poetics of reflection and place.
Marilyn Stablein received Creative Writing degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Houston where she was a Cullen Fellow. her poems, stories, essays and reviews are widely published. Her book of poems Splitting Hard Ground won the New Mexico Book Award and the National Federation of Press Women’s Book Award. Other works include an ongoing series of prose poems, Night Travels to Tibet; a Himalayan memoir, Sleeping in Caves; and a collection of eco-essays, Climate of Extremes: Landscape and Imagination. Recent work includes “Revisiting Loba: Diane di Prima’s Epic Poem” and poetry published in Make It True: A Cascadia Anthology. A former book critic for the Seattle Times, she has received two Yaddo residency grants as well as awards for her work from the National Endowment for the Arts, King County and Seattle Arts Commissions, and the New York Council of the Arts.
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.
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.
Writing & Conference with Gary Miranda
Freedom is not following a river.
-- 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.
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.