Friday, December 16, 2005

Decision, decided. (I think.)

Thanks to everyone who gave me their thoughts on my workshop choices. It was hard to go with my gut instinct because my gut instinct tells me there are at least six workshops next summer that I would get a whole heck of a lot out of! I decided to narrow it down to Carl Phillips vs. D.A. Powell (though as I noted before there are a bunch of very promising-sounding options). I phoned FAWC this morning and Dorothy, the summer program administrator, read me the complete workshop descriptions -- and in the end that's what decided me. Phillips' description sounds very similar to what Powell did last year: revision, and using the revision process to generate new material as well. Which is good stuff, and Dorothy said students always rave about Phillips, so it could be a very, very good workshop. But Powell's workshop on "Writing the Body" feels a bit risky to me, feels like it might make me write some things I'm afraid to write, feels just a bit scary. So that's the one I signed up for. I will need to let go of my expectations, because I will not have the same experience I had last summer. But I know I will be challenged, I will spend a week fully alive with the smell of the ocean filling my lungs, I will learn a hell of a lot.

I may blog later about why a workshop on "Writing the Body" feels risky and scary to me. It's a risk I need to take, because I have a tendency to live inside my head a lot and consequently to write very "think-y" poems. Provincetown, where I am so aware of the salt smell and the way the fog feels against my skin and the sounds of the harbor and the scratch of sand inside my shoes, where the light falls in a way it falls nowhere else, is the perfect place for me to work on this.

I could tell I made the right decision because as soon as I told Dorothy to sign me up for Powell's workshop I felt like bouncing in my chair a little bit. It was nice to chat with her for a minute, too -- she remembered me, and told me again how much she liked the poem I read last summer at the student reading (yes, they do know how to butter up the paying customers *grin*) and she told me to look for my picture in the printed catalog I'll be receiving soon. (Meep!) --And thanks to Carol for pointing out that my picture is on page 14 of the "FAWC News 2006" newsletter! I was sitting in that lovely Adirondack chair in the FAWC courtyard on Friday morning, writing in my journal, wearing a Hawaiian shirt I got in Kihei, Maui and someone stood on the balcony outside the classroom my workshop met in and snapped an aerial view. "Still Life with Poetry Nerd in Courtyard." (Carol, check out page 7, too -- the cookout picture -- did you spot Michael? Sonia Sanchez is there too, and I keep squinting to see if I can make out anyone else...)

I can't possibly afford this. It's foolish for me to be doing this. Stuff like this is why I have no retirement savings and am going to have to seriously consider stepping in front of a Mack truck when I hit seventy or so. But ... it feels absolutely, completely right to be planning this return trip. It's a palpable, physical pull.

Meet me there.


Pamela said...

That last paragraph resonates so strongly. I am celebrating for you and with you! I already feel like I am stepping in the path of a Mack truck about going back to school, especially since I found out today that there are NO OTHER WOMEN in the poetry section of the MFA program. ("No girls is just cootie-weird," is the way Raleigh put it).

early hours of sky said...

Okay who else did they say was teaching b/c they dont have their on line catolog up yet. Let me know...

Anne said...

Pamela: No other women?! That's WEIRD. Usually in poetry workshops you have way more women than men. I don't know if I could deal with being the only woman!

T: Yeah, they send out early-registration materials to their mailing list of former students before they put it online or send out the full catalog, because we are special like that. :) All I have is the teachers' names and workshop dates & titles, don't have the full descriptions or whether they are in the morning or afternoon. But here's who is teaching poetry next summer: Carl Phillips, D.A. Powell, David St. John, Olga Broumas, Sydnea Lea, Mark Halliday, Jim Moore, Marie Howe, Cleopatra Mathis, Mark Wunderlich, Galway Kinnell, Ralph Angel, Cornelius Eady, E. Ethelbert Miller, Vijay Seshadri, Rebecca Seiferle, John Skoyles, Michael Collier, Nick Flynn, Gail Mazur, Martha Rhodes, Daniel Tobin, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Ellen Dore Watson, Catherine Bowman, Alan Shapiro, Rafael Campo, Liam Rector, Tom Sleigh, Major Jackson, John Yau, and Marie Ponsot. The first week of workshops starts June 18th and the last week is August 20-25.

Pretty nice lineup, huh?

Kells said...


2 things:

1) may blog later about why a workshop on "Writing the Body" feels risky and scary to me.
**I hope you do blog on this, I'm very interested in hearing more.

2) I can't possibly afford this. It's foolish for me to be doing this.

***Whenever I hear myself saying this, I think "I can't afford *not* to do this." Life's too short.

Just act crazy when you're old, there will be places to keep you warm and fed. And will probably give you paper and pen if it seems to keep you quiet. ;-)

Peter said...

"Writing the Body" sounds fantastic. Go for it.

early hours of sky said...

Hey is Marie Howe the advance workshop again, the same as last year? I think I might need to go.

Anne said...

Kelli - I'll try to blog about the risk thing. I think I need to clarify it a bit in my own mind first. I tend to live inside my head a lot, which is the main thing, I think. :)

Peter - The full description is what sold me -- I'll post it as soon as I get it. I'm looking forward to it!

T - I think it is, yeah. It's 4th of July week again, which makes it tricky; if you apply and don't get in, but you've already made housing reservations, you're out a lot of money -- but if you don't make housing reservations, you find out about getting in pretty late in the game and good luck finding a place to stay. I think what I'd probably do if it were me would be to reserve a spot in one of the other workshops that week, just in case, as a backup plan. But I am overly cautious. If you do it, I want to hear all about it -- I'm curious about her as a teacher!

jenni said...

Anne, I got the brochure this weekend and that's the workshop I want to take too!! I haven't set it up yet but I'm pretty sure I'm taking it. That will be so fun!

Anne said...

Jenni, coolness! It would be fun to be in a workshop with you. I think Carol will be there that same week (she said she was probably taking Carl Phillips' workshop) so there will be several people I already know.