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ZOOM: Bohemia River Breakout Room

9:15 AM
Getting Down Off our Cloud and into the Field: Deepening Our Perspectives
in Writing Nature Poetry
Nancy Mitchell

Those of us educated in the United States were taught early American poetry influenced by the canon of Western Europe, and written in the received poetic forms, diction, themes, and perspectives of this canon. In the 19th century, a distinctive American idiom began to emerge, and since, experiments in form, theme, and diction have proliferated. Although the genre of American Nature Poetry reflects many of these changes, until recently the perspective of a removed, objective observation of nature by an educated speaker from an elite socioeconomic class, with leisure time to contemplate these observations has remained somewhat fixed. Anthologies have been slow to represent the diversity of perspectives in the poetry of other cultural groups, which represents a complex, symbiotic relationship with nature both forced and voluntary enmeshed in a survival with animals and vegetation, for whom they are often responsible. This perspective pulses with a vitality, a rawness and immediacy in direct contrast to the received, often passive perspectives traditionally characteristic of Nature Poetry. A comparison of these perspectives will give you an opportunity to examine your own poetry; do I write in receive perspectives, or from one that is truly my own? Where am I really writing from? How can I enliven my writing with the vitality and immediacy of the lived moment by changing my perspective? Handouts with poems by William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, Jean Toomer, Yusef Komunyakka, and Lucille Clifton and others will be provided.

Nancy Mitchell is a is a 2012 recipient of the Pushcart Prize and the author of The Near Surround, Grief Hut, and The Out-of-Body Shop. She has published in journals such as Agni, Green Mountains Review, and Washington Square Review, and has been awarded numerous artist residency fellowships. While former lecturer at Salisbury University, she produced the annual fine arts festival, Wordstock. She has worked for Maryland Summer Center for the Arts, Girls Innovative Academy and directs Writing for Wellness programs in Worcester County. Mitchell is associate editor for Plume Poetry Journal, and serves as the inaugural poet laureate of Salisbury, Maryland. Webpage: www.NancyMitchellWriter.com

10:30 AM
The Poem You Weren't Expecting
James Arthur

The best poems can't be built to order. In fact, the moments when a poet's writing is most inspired can sometimes feel like lucky accidents. A really good poem should tell you, the author, something that you didn't already know. In this session, you will learn how to subdue your inner critic and write poems whose meanings will surprise even you. The main emphasis will be on creating new work. Be ready for fearless experimentation, and plan to emerge from the session with drafts for several new poems! 

James ArthurCanadian-American poet James Arthur is the author of The Suicide's Son (Vehicule Press, 2019) and Charms Against Lightning (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). His poems have also appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Review of Books, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and The London Review of Books. He has received the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Northern Ireland, and a Visiting Fellowship at Exeter College, Oxford. Arthur lives in Baltimore, where he teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. For more about James Arthur, please visit: www.jamesarthurpoetry.com

11:45 AM 

Writing at the Intersections
Marlena Chertock and Taylor Lewis 

This workshop will delve into the intersections of identity. Poets of various identities--queer, disabled, women--will guide participants to explore their identities, their intersectionality, and their biographies. This workshop will provide the necessary space for free-writing and discussion on what it means to write at the intersections.

Marlena Chertock  has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She uses her skeletal dysplasia as a bridge to scientific writing. Marlena is a bisexual writer and the Co-Chair of OutWrite, Washington, D.C.'s annual LGBTQ literary festival. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, The Little Patuxent Review, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Paper Darts, Rogue Agent, Stoked Words, Wordgathering, and more. Find her at marlenachertock.com and @mchertock.

Taylor Lewis is a queer Black educator, poet, and activist from Maryland. While at the University of Maryland, she started The Writer's Bloc out of the Jimenez-Porter Writers' House. In 2019, she received a master's degree from the University of Hawaii for her research on the intersections of Blackness, queerness and language learning in the African diaspora. Her creative work can be found under the name V. Saunders in HerStry, The Potomac, and District Lit, with more coming in Hawaii Review. Her poem "we and the metro" was nominated by District Lit for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Find more about her at thealvearie.com and @nomadblaque on Instagram and Twitter. 

2:15 PM
The Sounds You Don't See
John A. Nieves 

This presentation will focus on sounds and sonority often hidden by our written language and the emotional and lexical impact utilizing these sounds has on poetry. There will be example poems, a primer on sounds, and a discussion about using said sounds effectively.

John Nieves  has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as North American Review, Crazyhorse, Southern Review, Colorado Review and Massachusetts Review. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge's Prize. He is associate professor of English at Salisbury University and an editor of The Shore Poetry. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Webpage: www.johnanieves.com.

3: 30 PM 
Cherrylog Road: Placing Your Poem
to Expand, Evoke & Provoke
David P. Kozinski 

Finding the right place, one that makes your poem pop, can make all the difference. Setting a poem in a junkyard, on a city street, or by a riverbank provides a framing device and a way of connoting much in few words. Referring to a place, or making it a destination can expand a poem's scope with atmosphere, history, familiarity, dislocation, irony, and more. Should the place be chosen from the poet's own experiences? Is it purely imaginary, or is it a physical location re-imagined or compared to another? Does location affect the choice of details included in the work? How much does a "real" place demand factual details and what license should be taken for the sake of authenticity? Is the landscape of the narrator's (or the poet's) mind more important than the landscape of the poem? Isn't the magic found in the meeting of these two places? Join this session where we'll discuss the merits and pitfalls of setting a poem in a specific location, and how place underlines or undercuts the images, ideas, or narrative presented.

David P. Kozinski  received an Established Professional Poetry Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts. His full-length book of poems, Tripping Over Memorial Day, was published by Kelsay Books. He received the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes (Broadkill Press). Kozinski was named 2018 Mentor of the Year by Expressive Path, a nonprofit that facilitates youth participation in the arts. He serves on the board of the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center and the editorial board of Philadelphia Stories. He is art editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal and Rockwood Park & Museum's resident poet. Recently published in North of Oxford, Broadkill Review, One Art.


 Beginning Fiction  -  Advanced Fiction

Poetry  -  Publishing/Marketing

Craft  -  Memoir & Nonfiction

Conference Overview





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