Week 4, March 24–30, 2013

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New Date: Speak Out and Speak Up! A Spoken Word Poetry Workshop for Young Women ~ March 27, 2013

This workshop has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 27 at 7 p.m.

Speak Out and Speak Up! A Spoken Word Poetry Workshop for Young Women
Hosted by Kirsten Peterson and Alexis Marie Wint
Railroad Street Youth Project, 60 Bridge Street, Great Barrington, 7 p.m.

This workshop will give young women of the Berkshires a chance to learn about writing and performing poetry. Often young women feel that their voices cannot be heard, but through this workshop we will be working to find, develop and to expand that creative voice. Designed for the teenage crowd, the workshop will be followed by a reading. No previous experience required.

Kirsten Peterson is a Simon’s Rock senior and proud Marylander. She has been writing poetry and short stories since fourth grade and recently began experimenting with personal essays. This year she is writing her thesis on anthropological practices in U.S. foreign relations and participating in an internship at the Railroad Street Youth Project.

Alexis Marie Wint is a twenty-year-old Brooklyn native with a passion for social justice and change. She is an actress, poet, writer, spoken word artist, and community activist. She is currently working on her senior thesis: a collection of short stories and poems that celebrate the beauty and articulate the struggles of African-American woman. Alexis Marie aspires to be an English professor and to share her gift of word with the world.  Black Girl Abroad project

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Small Stories in Hidden Places ~ March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 24
The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts presents:
Small Stories in Hidden Places, with Pauline Dongala, Vera Kalm and Carla Oleska
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, 1–3 p.m.

This March the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) presents its first Standing on Her Shoulders Award to women leaders over the age of seventy. In interviewing women for this award, WFWM executive director Carla Oleska noticed that women have a tendency to view their personal stories as being comparatively small and, thus, to keep them hidden—depriving younger women of the benefit of their often groundbreaking life experiences. Along with Standing on Her Shoulders Award recipient Vera Kalm, Pauline Dongala and Carla Oleska will share and discuss their own far-from-small stories.

Pauline Dongala worked for many years at the American embassy in her native country, Congo-Brazzaville, before she was forced to emigrate to the United States with her husband due to civil unrest. She earned a BA in gender studies and cultural relations from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2011, and is coeditor of the recent anthology African Women Writing Resistance: Contemporary Voices. She is a 2011 graduate of the Leadership Institute for Public and Political Impact, sponsored by the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. She has worked actively on African women’s issues since 1987 and currently serves as vice president of Forum des Femmes pour le Developpement, a Congolese NGO that trains and equips unemployed women, promoting self-sufficiency.

Vera Kalm began her career with the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. During the Hungarian Uprising in 1956, she was sent to work with an international refugee agency in Vienna and on the Austro-Hungarian border. Later, in New York City, she was responsible for facilitating the resettlement of a large group of Hungarian refugees in the United States. Recruited by the World Health Organization for its New York office with the United Nations, she retired as the director of that office—the first nonmedical woman to hold that position. Upon retirement, she served as president of the statewide New Jersey Center for Food Action; vice president of the Bergen Museum of Arts and Sciences; and as an Advisory Group member of the Englewood Health Department. In the Berkshires, she served as tutor and board member of the Southern Berkshire Literacy Network; Board member of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts; and as a founding board member and two-term vice president for Programs of Berkshire Women for Women Worldwide, a local organization supporting the work of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. She was a cofounder and served for ten years on the organizing committee of the annual International Women’s Day Conferences held at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Vera’s love of language (in addition to her mother tongue, Hungarian, and English, she speaks Slovak, German, French, and Russian) led her to undertake literary translations of works into English, including Hungarian Folktales: The Art of Zsuzsanna Palko; Coccioli’s The White Stone; and Tell Me About the United Nations.  www.goodreads.com/book/show/1673883.Hungarian_Folktales

Carla Oleska, PhD, has held the position of chief executive officer of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts since 2006. Prior to joining the fund, Carla had a long and varied career in administration and teaching at Elms College, Chicopee, MA. She has over twenty years of professional experience in creatively addressing the needs of women and girls, specializing in the design of programs enhancing academic preparation, higher education access, degree completion, and leadership development. Her work on behalf of women and girls has been recognized both regionally and nationally. Most recently she was selected as one of one hundred women across the United States to participate in Vision 20/20, a national initiative with the goal of achieving leadership parity in all professional and public sectors.  www.womensfund.net

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The Prose Poem ~ March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 24
The Prose Poem
A writing workshop & discussion led by Jessica Treat
Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield, 2–4 p.m.

It doesn’t have line breaks, it looks like a paragraph, and . . . it’s a poem? Yes! In this workshop we’ll look at prose poems by Charles Baudelaire, Anne Carson, Wisława Szymborska, and many others, and use prompts to write our own. Come learn about this versatile and exciting form for your words.

Jessica Treat is the author of three collections of short stories: A Robber in the House, Not a Chance, and Meat Eaters & Plant Eaters. She is the recipient of a Connecticut Commission on the Arts Award and the Dominion Review Fiction Award, and artist residencies at the Valparaiso Foundation in Spain and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. She is professor of English at Northwestern Connecticut College.  www.jessicatreat.com

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Finding Your Voice ~ March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 24
Finding Your Voice
A writing workshop for middle and high school students led by Anastasia Stanmeyer, editor of Berkshire Magazine
Otis Public Library, 2–5 p.m.

Registration is recommended for this free workshop. Email astanmeyer@morrismediagroup.com.

Anastasia Stanmeyer will guide young writers through the process of crafting a feature story. Exercises will spark the imagination, examples of strong writing will inspire, and group collaborations and revisions will lend support. There are no grades or wrong answers. The goal is to tell stories and to enable young writers to unleash their creativity while learning some tricks of the trade. Participants are encouraged to bring writing samples to share and to receive feedback. This workshop is supported by a grant from the Otis Cultural Council.

Anastasia Stanmeyer is editor of Berkshire Magazine. She is an active member of the Berkshire community and lives with her three children and husband on a farm in South County. She spent twelve years in Asia, writing and editing for Time, Asiaweek, Newsweek, Stern, and other magazines. She has written extensively for dailies, such as the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor, and San Francisco Chronicle.   www.dancingfields.com

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Wind and Rain: Poetry and Song ~ March 27, 2013

Wednesday, March 27
Wind and Rain: Poetry and Song
Rosemary Starace, JoAnne Spies, and the Elemental Orchestra
The Lichtenstein Center, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, 7 p.m.
Suggested donation: $5

“Let me fly away with you, for my love is like the wind.” Enter an elemental landscape that celebrates love, wildness, and all that wind and rain conjure. Poet Rosemary Starace and singer-songwriter JoAnne Spies trade art forms and collaborate with each other and the elements in this interactive performance. Guitar, dulcimer, drums, melodicas, accordions, rattles, and chimes will accompany original and familiar pieces spoken, chanted, and sung.

JoAnne Spies with guitar. Photo by Julie McCarthy

JoAnne Spies’s recent works include Karaoke Confession at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Survivor Tree, sung at Ground Zero with Jane Goodall officiating. Spies heads the Art Cart program at CATA, cocreating songs with elders and people with Alzheimer’s. Her CDs include 2×3, Me & Melville, and North Avenue Honey. CD Nelson says, “She puts the purr in performance art.”   soundingtheriver.blogspot.com


Rosemary Starace, photo by Kevin Hayes

Rosemary Starace, writer and visual artist, is author of the poetry collection Requitements and coeditor of Letters to the World, an international poetry anthology. “This is a poetry very much like the blues, full of lacrimae rerum. . . .Hearing it, I feel a weight lifting in my chest that I didn’t know was there.” —Dave Bonta, Via Negativa
www.rosemarystarace.com 

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How to Keep Writing with a Full-Time Job ~ March 25, 2013

Monday, March 25
How to Keep Writing with a Full-Time Job
Led by Kate Laity
Blodgett House, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

The urge to write inspires many of us, but the practical limitations of a regular life—job home, friends, family—often seem to conspire to fill all the hours in the day. What sleight of hand does it take to find time and motivation to write? Multitasker extraordinaire Kate Laity will offer sensible approaches to time management and practical suggestions for keeping your writing projects on track and moving forward. No magical skills are required.

K. A. Laity, PhD, is the author of Owl Stretching, Unquiet Dreams, Rook Chant, Chastity Flame, and many more stories, essays, and plays. An all-purpose writer, Fulbrighter, überskiver, medievalist, flâneuse, techno-shamanka, Broad Universe social media wrangler, History Witch, and Pirate Pub Captain, Dr. Laity teaches medieval literature, film, digital humanities, and popular culture at the College of Saint Rose in New York.   kalaity.com

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The Female Rebel: Women Writers on the Antiheroine in Fiction ~ March 27, 2013

Wednesday, March 27
The Female Rebel: Women Writers on the Antiheroine in Fiction
Hosted by Edie Meidav, with Rebecca Chace, Rebecca Godfrey, and Rebecca Wolff
Blodgett House, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

Judith and her maidservant, by Artemisia Gentileschi, c. 1612-1613

What is it that women want? What do they do when their desire is thwarted—or scripted upon them—by the society in which they live? Do they choose madness, silence, minstrelsy, or power-mad cunning, as so many of Shakespeare’s characters testify? Or do women find ways to cross the boundaries of ethnicity, class, family order, and tradition and to find new ways to tell an artful truth? In this panel, moderated by Edie Meidav, fiction writers Rebecca Chace, Rebecca Godfrey, and Rebecca Wolff explore what it means to write and to read the antiheroine, yesterday and today. Does rebellion create good art? Does art create good rebellion? Come to this panel with your questions and leave with an expanded vision of possibilities.

Edie Meidav, writer-in-residence at Bard College, is the author of three award-winning novels: Lola, California; Crawl Space; and The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon. Her next novel is Dogs of Cuba. Her works have been selected as editorial picks by the New York Times and other reviewers. Her recent work on Cuba appears in the literary journals Conjunctions and Zyzzyvawww.ediemeidav.com

Rebecca Chace’s novel Leaving Rock Harbor was named Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review and was a finalist for the 2010 New England Book Award. Her memoir Chautauqua Summer was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and Editor’s Choice; her novel Capture the Flag was adapted for the screen with director Lisanne Skyler. Chace has received the Showtime Tony Cox Screenwriting Award (Short Film) at the Nantucket Film Festival, 2010.   rebeccachace.com

Rebecca Godfrey, photo by Brigitte Lacombe

Rebecca Godfrey is the author of the novel The Torn Skirt and of the nonfiction book Under The Bridge, about the trials for murder of seven teenage girls, which received Canada’s most prestigious prize for literary nonfiction. It has been optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon’s Type A Productions. Godfrey currently teaches a seminar, “Anti-heroines,” at Columbia University and is working on a book on this topic.   www.rebeccagodfrey.com

Rebecca Wolff is the author of three books of poems (Manderley, Figment, The King) and a novel (The Beginners, Riverhead, 2011). She is the founding editor of Fence, and Fence Books, and the Constant Critic. She is a fellow at the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany. She lives in Hudson, NY.   rebeccawolff.com

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Kripalu presents: What’s Your Story? ~ March 28, 2013

Thursday, March 28
Kripalu presents:
What’s Your Story?
Workshop led by Lara Tupper
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, 7:30–9:30 p.m. Free but pre-registration is required. To register, call 800-741-7353.

In this informal writing class, we’ll investigate the notion of samskaras, or deeply embedded ideas about ourselves. What are we clinging to that is no longer serving us and how can we begin to let go? What are the authentic stories we yearn to tell instead? Through writing exercises, we’ll differentiate between the falsehoods that hold us back and the true tales we long to express.

Lara Tupper, MFA, is the author of A Thousand and One Nights, an autobiographical novel about singers at sea. She contributed to Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak. She taught writing at Rutgers University for nine years and now lives in the Berkshires, where she presents writing workshops at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health.   www.laratupper.com

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Writing for Personal Evolution ~ March 30, 2013

Saturday, March 30
Writing for Personal Evolution
Workshop led by Dara Lurie
South Berkshire Friends Meeting House, 280 State Road, Great Barrington, 1–2:30 p.m.

Writing for Personal Evolution is a course of self-discovery through the art and craft of the written word. In this experiential workshop, participants will be introduced to the emotional intelligence contained within the syntax, rhythms, and images of their writing.

Using a sequence of mind-mapping, guided visualization, and absorption writing, participants will learn to approach familiar personal territory with new and surprising insights.

Dara Lurie, MFA, is author of Great Space of Desire: Writing for Personal Evolution, a memoir about race, addiction, and healing through creativity. The book is also a creative guide with worksheets for writers wishing to develop their own life experiences into stories. Dara studied memoir writing and creative process with memoirist Louise DeSalvo at Hunter College. She has taught processed-based writing workshops for over ten years in a variety of continuing education programs in New York City and the Hudson Valley. Dara also hosts the online writing community Transformative Writing, featuring a monthly writing clinic. She is currently developing an online curriculum that will guide writers through the process from start to finish.  www.transformative-writing.com

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Solo: Writing Our Own Adventures ~ March 30, 2013

Saturday March 30
Solo: Writing Our Own Adventures
Reading and discussion with Dorothy Albertini, Dawn Paul, and Susan Fox Rogers
South Berkshire Friends Meeting House, 280 State Road, Great Barrington, 3–5 p.m.

Solo adventurers and writers Dorothy Albertini, Dawn Paul, and Susan Fox Rogers will talk about their adventures in the wild and the joys and complications of journeying solo, whether on a trail, by bike, or in a kayak. All three will read from recent work—essays and fiction. This panel will inspire and inform those interested in chronicling their outdoor adventures.

Dorothy Albertini received her MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2008. Recent work is in the current issue of Peep/Show. Her work has also appeared in Drunken Boat, Tantalum, the Brooklyn Rail, Going Alone (ed. Susan Fox Rogers), and NANO Fiction, where she was the winner of the first annual NANO fiction contest. The winning piece was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches with Bard’s Institute for Writing and Thinking and the Language and Thinking Program. She writes about bears and people in Poughkeepsie, NY.  dorothyalbertini.com

Dawn Paul is the author of two novels, The Country of Loneliness and Still River. She has created a text/video with painter Ben Johnson and has worked with choreographer Kelley Donovan on dance/poetry pieces. Dawn has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Spring Creek Project. She teaches writing and is the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts.  corvidwriters.org/dpaul/index.html

Susan Fox Rogers is the author of My Reach: A Hudson River Memoir and the editor of twelve book anthologies, including Solo: On Her Own Adventure and Going Alone: Women’s Adventures in the Wild. She teaches the creative essay at Bard College, where she is also codirector of the Environmental and Urban Studies Program.   susanfoxrogers.com