Thursday, February 16, 2006

Summer in Iowa

The Iowa Summer Writing Festival has posted its schedule of workshops for this summer. I've been there three times, if I recall correctly; once I did a week-long workshop, once I did a weekend followed by a week, and once I drove out there just for a quick weekend workshop. Had a great time every time, working with fabulous teachers like Meredith Stricker, Michael Carey, and Kathleen Peirce. Michael Carey was a particularly terrific teacher; the workshop I had with him included students at all levels, from real beginners to published poets, and he managed to pull us all together so that we were all challenged & all learning from one another. He's not a particularly well-known poet, but he is a good teacher & a very sweet guy.

I haven't been to ISWF since the early nineties, and I won't be going this year, since (unless something happens to screw it up financially) I'm going to Provincetown and can't afford to do two. But if you're looking for a nice workshop and don't object to spending a week in Iowa City, I highly recommend this program. (And hey, Iowa City is nice. Plus they have Prairie Lights, which is one of the nicer bookstores I've spent time in, and as I recall the used bookstores are quite good too.)

Here's a poem:


for Kelly

See the day lilies at the edge
of our field, how we walk through them
every spring and talk of the things
we will do when our lives allow
and the children are blooming.

And the field itself,
no matter how we abuse it,
it loves us and feeds us
and asks us to return.

Every year we bend our backs
over the crop, over the weeds,
over the tenderly buzzing insects.
It hurts so much and is never enough.

See how often we cry
over nothing, over each other,
our children, our small wants
and needs; how hungry we stay
and how long is eternity.

See how your limbs and mine
find each other, again
and again, that same door
always opening, how sweetly
we sing the older we get.

Soon we will
have lived with each other
longer than we have lived
with ourselves and more easily.

There is a lesson in this
and love. Consider it.

---Michael Carey
from Honest Effort (Duluth, MN: Holy Cow! Press, 1991)

1 comment:

David said...

I was there two years ago for a week with Cecile Goding...the best workshop I've ever experienced. And throw in Prarie Lights = heaven.