© 2019 Crestone Poetry Festival by sally jane

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Friday 1:00-3:00

choose one of four workshops

Blackout Poetry

with Deb Brody

Traditional Blackout Poetry turns books into art, but I'm not into destroying books. Magazines, on the other hand, are a fun way to get your feet wet in a form where you are never left staring at a blank page wondering what to write.The black out poem looks like a redacted FBI document, but in fact is like an erasure poem and somewhat like a found poem. We will use existing pieces of literature (magazine articles) and black out the words we do not want, leaving the poem revealed. This fun and engaging form is appropriate for all levels of learners. Believe it or not, black out poems have been around for over 250 years. All materials provided.


Writing the Wild  

with Pam Uschuk

In this workshop, we will howl out an eco justice poem. Eco poetry deals with the relationship of human to wild nature. Poet, editor and American Book Award Winner, Pam Uschuk, will bring in model poems by such writers as WS Merwin, Camille Dungy, Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, Willie James King, Melissa Tuckey and Mary Oliver. She will discuss craft--how to create effective metaphor from observation of the wild world, how to take the didactic out of poetry, rhythm and sound. Participants will write their own eco justice poem to take from this workshop.

Aspects of Revision: How the Memorable Becomes the Unforgettable

with William Pitt Root

In this workshop we’ll explore the revision process. Once a poem feels complete, then what? We’ll also discuss some strategies for submitting work to literary magazines.

Written with the Body 

with Carolyn "Carolina" Brown 

The body roots us in the Here and Now – deep within Earth and eternity -- while holding all our life experiences, ancestral imprints and primal wisdom. Come stir the creative fires and find out what’s alive in you right now...and let it out. Breathing, sensing, moving, listening...Jot it down (or not)...and begin again. Every body is welcome into this lightly guided process of discovery – whether you want to lie still, sway your hips, tap your feet or shake it all out. This is a chance to drop in and let the muse move.


Saturday 9:30-11:30

choose one of four workshops

Yoga, Mindfulness and Writing

with Val Killpack

Where does our writing come from? We will look at writing from the body, the breath, and movement. We will look at accessing language that is expressive, vivid, and engaging, more than just concepts, using our senses to interrogate our realities, to bring visceral aliveness to the page, to generate innovative ways into the creative process. We will explore how writing can be a component of contemplative practice and look at shifting patterns to develop daily writing habits. We will move through yoga asana, work with breath and meditation, and we will write! Handouts will be provided. 

Loving the Limerick

with Tom deMers

Limericks are short poems of a less serious sort that appeal to the kid in all of us. They enchant the ear with their reliance on rhyme and rhythm, and lend themselves to clever and witty expression. We will not become limerick masters in this workshop, but proficiency is distinctly possible as we write limericks and read them to one another. Bring your rhyming talents and a bit of silliness to this workshop along with paper and pen. If time allows, we will get more serious and try the limerick as a stanza form in a longer poem.

Raising Poetry to a Higher Power: Metaphor, Language, and the Imagination  

with Mark Irwin

This workshop will focus on how metaphor and language allow us to cross

numerous borders and boundaries, including spatial, temporal, social, psychological, and historical ones, while allowing us to extend the boundaries of the imagination and spirit. We’ll look at several socially diverse poems that accomplish this in hopes that we can extend these boundaries of our own work.


Anti-social Haiku

with Maria Melendez Kelson

Society demands productivity. Haiku provides less. Society determines value using data. Haiku infuses value. Society swipes away the present for what’s next. Haiku holds the orb of a moment. Haiku is anti-modern technology for vitality and invigoration. We’ll study the poetry of woman haiku master Chiyo-ni, as well as the haiku of WWII Japanese internment camps. Taking these brief bursts of life as our guides, we’ll write greeting haiku for each other, hex haiku to curse our enemies, traditional nature haiku for the season, and other experiments in mind-altering brevity.


Saturday 1:00-3:00

choose one of four workshops

Inviting the Reader In: What the Audience Does and Doesn't Need to Know 

with Nathan Brown

This workshop focuses on the art of revision and, to an extent, the presentation and/or performance of our writing. We will discuss ways to tighten the belts of our stories and poems by: taking a close and rigorous look at titles and opening lines; applying “Economou’s Razor” to beginnings and endings; getting rid of what distracts the reader along the way; and bringing in what the reader must know to be a “traveler” in our stories, lyrics, and poems.

Moving Toward the Voice of Water: A reading and writing workshop inspired by Rumi

with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

We cannot help being thirsty, moving toward the voice of water … Clean your ears. Do not listen for something you have heard before. Jalaladin Rumi (1207-1273)


Clean your ears! In this workshop we’ll read and discuss and Rumi, a Sufi poet, theologian and teacher born in Persia, then we’ll write poems in response to his words. His is a universal voice for cosmic, Divine love, not embroiled in dogma. Into our modern, synthetic, technological world starved for real ecstasy, Rumi spills ecstasy. All welcome. As Rumi would say, “It’s rigged—everything in your favor. So there is nothing to worry about."

The Music of What Happens: Exploring Soundscape

with Joseph Hutchinson

The music that makes poems memorable springs from the interaction of cadences and the rise and fall of syllable sounds. This interaction is called “soundscape”: "An atmosphere or environment created by or with sound.” We’ll explore the impact of soundscape on the reader’s experience of a poem and practice some ways of enriching that experience through the fine-tuning of soundscape.

Old Poets in the Futurist Era: Deconstructing Walt Whitman 

with Adrian H. Molina

How would a post-future futurist Walt Whitman write? What would it look like? What would he sound like? Adrian H Molina has utilized the blackout poetry process to deconstruct the entirety of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. Molina has reimagined the text in the form of contemporary breaks and bars. Following a brief reading, all workshop participants will engage in their own deconstruction / reconstruction of Whitman’s classic. We will conclude with a collective meditation on the future of poetry. 


fresh ideas, new perspective, new poems, meditations &