The Poetry of Stone

Did you ever have a vision? Did you imagine it was possible to turn it into reality?  Even though I teach creative writing myself, I have attended many a summer poetry seminar over the years since graduate school, from Provincetown Fine Arts Center to Split Rock Arts Workshops in Minnesota.  Aside from enjoying the thrill of being a student again and picking up ideas to keep my writing practice going in the middle of a heavy community college teaching load, I was eager to learn what these teachers had that I didn’t have.  How was it that they were chosen to lead workshops in exotic locations?  Finally, at some point last year, I realized it has a lot to do with putting yourself out there.  No one was going to come swooping down and ask me to lead a workshop; I was going to have to make it happen myself.

My dear friend Robin Keck is an artisan framer and master stone carver, and she has been teaching workshops at Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, New Mexico, for many years.  One day last winter I was looking at some old poems of mine and came across “The Sculptor,” which is in Sweet Weight. This poem was inspired by a carving Robin gave to me, and the idea that sculptors just need to remove everything from the stone that isn’t the sculpture.  Poems work a lot like that — taking the rough draft and winnowing down to the essence of the poem.  And then it hit me: we should propose a joint stone-carving/poetry workshop!

I am so grateful that our proposal was accepted, and I will be teaching my first summer workshop, ever, this July 8-14.  Students at any level in either genre are welcome.  Check out the information on the workshop, registration, and other details here:  The Poetry of Stone  I hope you’ll come and make one of YOUR visions into reality!


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