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Sessions & Speakers 2018

Poetry Sessions

NANCY MITCHELL–  Poetry Reverie via a Rendezvous with the Sensuous

As a writer, primarily of poetry, I can personally testify to the veracity of Gaston Bachelard’s assertion in The Poetics of Reverie that solitary contemplation of the natural world is a transcendent vehicle to poetic reverie, the wellspring of the poetic impulse. During the course of my writing and teaching career I have come to trust Bachelard's insistence that the offspring of this rendezvous with the sensuous will be an "absolutely original image" which becomes the seed of a new poem for myself and for my students. But how, in our harried, technological age, do we find time to devote to this pursuit when the primary object of our contemplation is a computer screen? I'll share my experiences with poetic reverie, and resulting poems and ways in which to step away from distractions and access this "wellspring" of poetic impulse.  

Nancy Mitchell is a 2012 Pushcart Prize winner and the author of two volumes of poetry, The Near Surround (Four Way Books, 2002) and Grief Hut (Cervena Barva Press, 2009). Her third book, The Out-of-Body Shop is forthcoming in 2018. Her poems have appeared in, Agni, Columbia College Literary Review, Green Mountains Review, Poetry Daily, Tar River Review, Thrush, Tulane Review, and Washington Square Review among others. She is the co-editor of and chief contributor to Plume Interviews I (2017). Mitchell teaches at Salisbury University in Maryland and serves as the Associate Editor of Special Features for Plume.


SUE ELLEN THOMPSON – Poetry As Autobiography 

The primary challenge for poets who write about their own lives is making their readers care. Using some contemporary American poems as models, this class will focus on the difference between a poem that merely tells a story or reveals something about the writer's life and one that opens up to embrace the reader. We will also talk about whether or not it's okay to tell lies in an autobiographical poem and about the wisdom of holding information or emotion in reserve. The class will be aimed at poets who are drawn to autobiographical subject matter but are concerned about whether their poems will have an impact on readers who know nothing about the writer's life.

Sue Ellen Thompson's fifth book of poetry, THEY, was published in September 2014. Her work has been included in the Best American Poetry series, read on National Public Radio by Garrison Keillor, and recently won a Pushcart Prize. She taught at Wesleyan University, Middlebury College, Binghamton University, and Central Connecticut State University before moving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 2006. She now teaches workshops at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda and Annapolis, MD and was the recipient of the 2010 Maryland Author Prize from the Maryland Library Association.

FENIX YOUTH PROJECT/AMBER GREEN   – The Last Word: Poetry as Activism

This interactive workshop is designed to engage participants of all levels in the artistic production and power of Spoken Word or “Slam Poetry.” Through this engagement participants will explore questions that touch on three major points:

  • Understanding the creative practice of spoken word
  • Developing skills to engage in performance poetry
  • Exploring the ways spoken word can be a cultural and political tool within community.
This workshop will include opportunities to engage in the writing and performing of poetry as well as dialogue on the ways poetry can and have been used in community building. Bring paper and a pen!   


Amber Green is the Executive Director of Fenix Youth Project Inc., a local 501(c)3 creative arts and youth development nonprofit in Salisbury, MD. The mission of the organization is to encourage youth to impact social change using creativity as a tool. Amber also serves on the City of Salisbury Youth Advisory Development Committee, where she currently serves as a Youth Development Specialist through Americorps. Amber is a well- known community activist and poet. She had lead multiple protests and continues to be an advocate for the youth and her community.


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