Thursday, December 15, 2005

Decisions, decisions.

Well, hell.

Today I got my early-registration information from FAWC for their summer workshops. (Yeah!!) (They always send out bare-bones info to people on their mailing list before they put the schedule & registration up on their website, so we get first dibs.) I'd been more or less thinking I would apply for the Indiana Arts Commission grant to cover the costs of attending a workshop. But ... of COURSE ... the two I'm most interested in doing are in June, and the grant period begins July 1, so I can't apply for the grant for those workshops.

I could do a workshop later in the summer (although I'd still have to register, reserve housing, probably even buy a plane ticket, all before I knew for sure whether I'd gotten the grant or not). But ... I stopped for a minute and really listened to what I've been saying for the past couple of days, which is, "I'll just put the workshop stuff on my credit card and if I don't get the grant, well, I'll figure out some way to pay it off."

So, duh. I should just do that ANYway, if I want the workshop badly enough to do that, and apply for the grant for something ELSE that will work out better. Probably an online mentorship thingie. Which would probably fit the grant specs better anyway, because in the workshop I attended the other day they really emphasized that they want the grant to take you a step farther along in your career, not just keep doing what you're already doing. And I've done workshops already, but I've never done a mentorship thingie. And a mentorship thingie would be a very natural way to work towards a (ssshhhhh, don't tell, you'll jinx it!) book manuscript.

So, even though I can't possibly afford it, I think I'm going to call FAWC tomorrow and make reservations for a workshop. And housing, because staying at FAWC is cheaper than most of the B&B's in town, and their housing books up super super fast so if I don't nab it now I'm probably out of luck. And honestly, I'll have several months before it's too late to cancel and get my deposit back, so even if I change my mind, I'm still better off putting down a deposit now.

BUT ... there are two workshops that appeal to me right off the bat (okay, there are probably half a dozen that interest me, but these two particularly). They're both the same week (the week of June 18th). One is "Revision: Art and Strategy" with Carl Phillips. The other is "Writing the Body" with D.A. Powell. Now, D.A. Powell's workshop last summer was (as anyone who was reading this blog back then knows) a tremendous experience for me; I'd go so far as to say it was one of the best weeks of my life, and that Powell was the best teacher I have ever had. So do I sign up for another week with him? If the week is less than mind-blowing for whatever reason, what a letdown. And last summer was just a perfect confluence of me being in the right space, the right people in the class, the right poems showing up to be written, the right weather, the right teacher -- chances are, nothing's going to live up to that standard. But, he's a damned good teacher and I'm sure it would be a good workshop no matter what. On the other hand, working with somebody new would be good (maybe I've already learned what I have to learn from Powell?), revision would be a very worthwhile thing for me to work on, and I have a gut instinct that Phillips might be a really good teacher for me. And I'd still get to hear Powell read, and hopefully get a chance to hang with him a bit and catch up.

Ugh, decisions, decisions. I could also go later in the summer and do a revision workshop with Martha Rhodes, who I met at IUWC last summer and liked quite a bit. Or I could apply to get into Marie Howe's advanced poetry workshop (and if I didn't get in, Cleopatra Mathis is doing a revision workshop that week, and Mark Wunderlich is teaching that week too, so I could just take one of those instead and not have to change housing/air reservations). Major Jackson is doing a workshop called "Doorways: A Poetry Workshop" which sounds intriguing though I might ask the FAWC folks to read me the full description before I would sign up for it. Marie Ponsot is teaching at the end of August, but that's a bad time to take off work so it's probably out of the question. Oh, and Thomas Sayers Ellis has one called "A Risk in Every Room" and since I am fascinated with the idea of risk in poetry and what it can mean or not mean, that intrigues me.

But I am fond of June in P-town, and I'm inclined right now to go with either Phillips or Powell.

Any thoughts, input, ouija board suggestions would be MOST welcome. (Carol! I'd especially love to hear from you on this.) I think I'm gonna call them tomorrow and make the reservations, but switching from one to the other in the same week is not a problem if the other one isn't full yet, so even if you're late to the party, I'd be glad to hear your opinion. Yes, you.

The fact that I can't possibly afford this, that it is completely irresponsible of me to even think about it, makes it a little more exciting. :P


My poetry group had our holiday meeting tonight. We usually bring more food than for a regular meeting (and more festive food), and we usually exchange small gifts although this year we each made a donation to charity in the name of the group instead, and we usually bring poems by others to share instead of critiquing our own. I read "Octopus in the Freezer" by our own Artichoke Heart. They loved it, although Anya said "boy, that's a mind I wouldn't want to be inside for more than a few minutes." (She meant it in a good way, though!)


The next person to ask me whether I've got my Christmas shopping finished yet gets decked. Cheers!


Carol Peters said...

Anne, FAWC has an amazing line up this year, and I agree, my first reaction was to study with Powell again -- different workshop, "Writing the Body" such a draw, astonishing teacher.

My short list includes Powell, Phillips, Howe, Shapiro, Sleigh, Jackson, Ponsot.

Others would have made my list except what does one do when every teacher makes the list.

The workshop descriptions that seduce me are by St. John, Lea, and Halliday, but I don't know the work of these poets.

I wonder whether Ellen Dore Watson is the Ellen Watson who translated Adelia Prado, and if she is, that shoots her way up in the list.

Talk to Jilly Dybka about Thomas Sayers Ellis -- she built his website. I think that might be the sleeper workshop to take.

I have tentatively signed up for Phillips, but for me it's a major battle between him and Jackson.

I have a friend who studied with Marie Ponsot and puts Marie on top of the list without any question. Marie has a unique teaching style -- not your standard workshop. I'll go back to my notes and see if I have more detail on that.

The other course that lures me is Antrim's fiction workshop. Love Antrim's work -- a bonafide naked loony.

Anne said...

Carol, that's not a very short shortlist! *grin* Right now I'm leaning towards Phillips, keeping an open mind to the possibility of switching over to Powell if I decide I can't stand to be there and NOT be in his workshop. If you and I both do Phillips, we have to drag Doug out for a drink one night though. :) I think I'm going to call them right at 9:00 in the hope that I'll be in time to nab on-site housing... if it weren't for that, I'd probably dither until after the new year.

Artichoke Heart said...

Anne, that sounds so exciting! And you are very lovely to have shared my poem. (Oh, and believe me, sometimes I would gladly take a break from being inside my own head.)

Trista said...

Well, two thoughts here. I have done repeat workshops with teachers that I love before, trying to recapture the magic of the first one, only to be disappointed. However, I did learn new things from the repeats, so I do think that it's impossible to get everything you need to learn from a great teacher with only one class. So, I guess that didn't help, did it? I guess if you go into it with the same open slate that you had the first time taking it, and no expectations of repeating the magic, it'll probably be good again. Though, the risk one sounds REALLY interesting.

And, just think of the cost as a business expense. It'll be paid back when you become the first poet new york times bestseller.

Carol Peters said...

Trista, I'm with you about the "risk" workshop -- that is the one that keeps drumming take me take me take me.

And Anne, whatever you decide to do, please tell me when you'll be in Provincetown (if it's not the same week I am) because I plan to spend multiple weeks in the vicinity -- maybe not a whole month like last year but who knows.

Carol Peters said...

Anne, your photo appears on page 14 of the FAWC newsletter!