Millay Colony for the Arts

Promoting the vitality of the arts and the development of writers, visual artists, and composers by providing a retreat for creative work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ronaldo V. Wilson Poetry Workshop Retreat

July 30th to August 2nd
Archives and Ephemera: A Poetry Workshop with Ronaldo Wilson

What materials might we bring into the realm of the poem? With what sources can we open the life of the mind into language that captures and reveals our imaginations, intentions, and explorations? An archive is defined as "a place or collection containing records, documents," "a long term storage area," and "a repository for stored memories or information," while ephemera is marked as a "short lived thing," and "printed matter of passing interest."

This workshop asks you to bring in and work from your archives and ephemera, ideally anything that can fit in a standard sized brief case or grocery bag, depending on your records, habits, findings, and tastes. Perhaps you have a small archive of photographs, news clippings, or journals you've been collecting? Or, maybe you have a series of loose notes, sketches, objects, or partial but striking drafts that you've left untouched and wish to revisit?

Throughout the week, you will focus on your own archives and ephemera as a means of generating a cycle of new poems. Students will work on in-class exercises, as well as discuss freshly drafted works. To further inspire our writing and conversation, we will look to poets who work with various modes of the archival and the ephemeral to include Cornelius Eady's Brutal Imagination, C.A. Conrad's Advanced Elvis Course, Harryette Mullen's Sleeping With the Dictionary, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge's I Love Artists, Wayne Koestenbaum's Rhapsody of A Repeat Offender, and Meena Alexander's Quickly Changing River.

Ronaldo V. Wilson is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man, winner of the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), and Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009). He is a graduate of the PhD program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, and NYU's Graduate Creative Writing Program. Wilson has won numerous fellowships to include the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, Kundiman, Djerassi, and Yaddo. A co-founder of the Black Took Collective, he teaches creative writing and African American poetics at Mount Holyoke College.

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