Writing Workshop

The Northeast Poetry Center’s College of Poetry has announced two workshops to be offered during the summer term to run from March 17 until May 5.  Each workshop will meet for two hours a week during the eight week course in the rear room of 7 West Street in Warwick.  Enter by the door on the right side of the building.  Tuition for each is $150. Enrollees are regarded as “guest poets,” and workshops are presented in a casual and open manner designed to be useful for writers of all levels of experience.

The Saturday morning course, meeting from 10 a.m. to noon is titled At Play in the Fields of Poetry: Honing Chapbook Manuscripts.  In this experiential workshop, led by Lynn Hoins, participants will explore the aesthetics and practical concerns of putting together a poetry manuscript. The first four weeks will concentrate on the individual poems in a manuscript, considering clichés, imagery, musicality, metaphors, and similes. Through workshop methods the group will ask if the poems need pruning, can they go deeper, are there enough layers, do they suffer from vagueness? Are they too esoteric, too simple? They will also discuss the many practical criteria to apply to original poems: voice, tense, agreement, parallel form. During the second four weeks, the focus will shift to the manuscript as a whole. In this stage, the leading questions change.  Do we have the best possible order of poems? Is there a theme? Do any of the poems say the same thing? Do the poems flow well from one to the next? Are there any holes in the manuscript that need to be filled? Is there a good balance between previously published and new work? Is the quality of the poems uneven? By the end of this series, we hope to have a polished manuscript to submit, and a plan about where it can be submitted.

Lynn Hoins’ poetry has appeared in journals including Earth’s DaughtersMain Channel Voices, and The Wawayanda Review.  She has two chapbooks from published by Finishing Line Press: You Were Always Music and Called by Stones. She teaches poetry workshops for The College of Poetry, Northeast Poetry Center as well as journaling and creativity workshops in other settings.

On Saturday afternoons from 1:30 – 3:30 Steve Hirsch will lead a workshop on  Buddhism and Meditative Practice in Poetry.  According to Hirsch, “From the early classical forms of the Chinese and Japanese monk-poets to the ‘dharma-poetics’ of the modern Beats, the life and teachings of the Buddha have influenced some of the world’s greatest poetry for more than 2500 years. The only way to truly understand Buddhism is to practice meditation and see for yourself.”  The course will introduce students to a broad range of contemplative literary traditions as well as provide basic meditation instruction and dharma teachings. Each class will involve readings of great poets who practiced or reflected on Buddhism and Buddhist themes as well as discussions, extensive writing practice sessions, and a variety of dynamic meditation practices. Through this exploration participants will develop new tools for writing as well as for living and uncover what Buddhists call “original mind.”

Steve Hirsch is a poet, musician, digital media tech guru, and editor/publisher of the literary magazine Heaven Bone. He studied writing and theatre at Naropa Institute in Boulder , Colorado where he was a student and apprentice of Allen Ginsberg and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In recent years he has been riding his Harley all over the Northeast, studying Buddhism, poetry and writing with Natalie Goldberg, and playing Latin and African drums as a founding member of the drum circle “Spirithawk.”  He has been leading poetry workshops and giving poetry readings nationally for over 25 years. He is the author of Ramapo 500 Affirmations(Flower Thief, 1998) and his poetry has appeared in HungerNapalm Health Spa ReportFor Immediate ReleasePuddingBig ScreamHazmat ReviewMuse Apprentice Guild, and Etcetera.

This project is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization program administered by Arts in Orange .

The Northeast Poetry Center is a nonprofit corporation whose annual programs include three terms of writing workshops, three visits by Distinguished Visiting Poets, publication of the Wawayanda Review, twelve readings in the associated Poetry on the Loose Reading/Performance Series, as well as numerous free workshops, seminars, and talks.

For further information or to register for a course, see www.collegeofpoetry.com, call William Seaton at 845-294-8085, or write seaton@frontiernet.net.