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November 18, 1978 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-18

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The Aichigan Daily-Saturday, November 18, 1978-Page 9

Some 60 persons were all ears when Bill Mathews gave hints on publishing work.

Bill Mathews eyes Bill Mathews

Workshop sets



poetry in motion

Paula Rankin, poet from Old Hickory, Tennessee.

A NN ARBOR BECAME a Paradise for Poets
last week when more than 60 striving
writers descended on the Pendleton Room of the
Michigan Union for the first Fall Poetry
Workshop. The four-day event, which ran
Wednesday through Saturday, featured a
number of small workshops designed to
stimulate writing. Four accomplished poets
catne to town to assist with the workshops and
give readings at night.
Jointly 'sponsored by the English Department
and the Michigan Council for the Arts, the
WorkshdpyWas an overall success. Dr. Stephen
Dunning, professor in English and education
who was instrumental in organizing the
workshop, said the response was
"overwhehningly positive." He was assisted by
Kathe Kohl and Shirley Smith.
The workshop was unique in that it wasopen to
anyone interested in writing poetry, regardless
of ability. People from the community and from
local high schools participated in the experience
along with University students. This made for an
interesting group of people ranging from a 15-
year-old high school student to an 84-year-old
writer of ecological verse. Being in a workshop
situation enabled the participants to work with
experienced poets rather than just hear them
William Mathews, Faye Kicknosway, Paula
Rankin, and Malcolm Glass were the poets who
helped lead the workshop. Through exercises,
readings and discussions, they demonstrated
different writing styles as well as individual
approaches to creation.
ONE OF THE MOST interesting and beneficial
exercises was led by Rankin, who had the
participants draw a floor plan of the first home

they remembered living in. The people then
wrote a room by room narration, stating what
came to mind at each location. Most participants
were surprised by how much information they
recalled about events thought to have been long
forgotten. Besides "generating" workshops, two
"finished product" sessions were held in which
participants were encouraged to write
completed poems.
The most complete poems were read at the
evening readings and during the final Saturday
morning reading when participants were
encouraged to read a poem produced during the
workshop. One of the most apt statements about
poetry and its relation to everyday life comes
from Mathews' poem, "A Roadside Near Ithaca,
New York:"
In memory,
though memory eats its banks
like any river, you can carry
by constant revision
some loved thing.
Besides working with the visiting poets, many
participants had the opportunity to talk with
writers who pursue both a career in writing and
work at the University. Sessions were held at the
Hopwood Room with Eric Rabkin, English
Professor, E. J. Burrows, executive producer at
WUOM, and Robert Hayden, Professor and for-
mer library of Congress Consultant.
For those who missed out, Professor Dunning
plans to schedule another workshop- "sometime
in March." Regular poetry readings are held
throughout the year at the Pendleton Room and
at the Guild House. The campus also has two
literary journals that seek student work.

Photos and story by

Faye Kicknosway making an excruciating point.

Stephen Dunning, workshop co-ordinator.

I ~U

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