Loading Events

« All Events

POETRY WORKSHOP: “Finding” Poetry

May 8 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

A virtual workshop for teens and adults drawing on local natural history documents, with an emphasis on our relations with the natural world and the animals that inhabit it.

“FINDING” POETRY: Making Poems from Historical Documents and Landscapes with Jane Desmond

Using simple techniques of subtraction and selection, and working from texts that already exist, but which are not in themselves poems, this workshop encourages anyone to find the multiple meanings that exist in words, and to feel that they can create a poem themselves without having to generate poetic language or ideas to start with. By blacking out text on a page so that only a small proportion of chosen words remain, or adding commentary, or rearranging what’s left, participants can find a poem where one didn’t exist before, and enjoy crafting a relationship to their town/region by drawing on historical descriptions of its natural history.

For this this virtual workshop, the teaching artist will supply in advance several local Door County/Wisconsin texts for participants to choose from and will guide us through the process together. For non-poets, it always manages to provide an inviting entree to making a poem. More experienced writers often enjoy the respite from having to generate words on a blank page. In the end we will share our results visually/virtually (these often make striking artworks in themselves) and by reading our “poems” aloud. Finally, we can discuss how the workshop engaged regional natural locations and historical and contemporary perspectives on Door County landscapes.

No arts or poetry experience is necessary—all are welcome. Due to pandemic programming, we will be working together over zoom, but with plenty of time for experimenting, conversation, and sharing the final results. Participants will need home access to a printer to print out our shared documents in advance, and some simple markers (felt tipped, or highlighters, crayons, or colored pencils. Even a simple lead pencil and eraser will do!).

This program is presented free but registration is required. To register online, please click the button below. For other registration options, please call 920.868.1457.

Jane Desmond – Director, International Forum for US Studies; Professor of Anthropology and Gender/Women’s Studies

For two decades, Jane Desmond has investigated human relationships with animals, writing about the whale shows at Sea World, adventure tourism to the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica, about how we mourn for pets, and how apes can talk to us in sign language experiments. She has written and published scholarly articles as well as poetry about animals and our lives with them. Her first career was as a professional modern dance choreographer and performer, working kinesthetically, designing soundscores and spoken scripts to accompany the dances she crafted while on the theater faculties at Duke and Cornell.