Friday, June 22, 2007

Iowa Week: June 17-22

Iowa City, Iowa.

This week I studied poetry with Juliet Patterson (The Truant Lover). The name of the class was "Density, Details and Lists: Exercises in Poetry." And boy, did we do some exercises! We had readings and poetry writing homework every night and I tried to write more poems that the required amount, since I know my schedule when I get back to Raleigh. I had dinner with friends in Jane Mead's "Advanced Poetry" class most nights, went to two fabulous Prairie Lights readings (Iowa's premier independent bookstore famous around the nation where all of the readings are podcasted before us, the studio audience), and then worked on my writing till about 12:30 or 1am every night.

Juliet instructed us on the NY School of Poetry, Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca, the ecstatic school and much more. We would study a poem, say, William Stafford's "Things I Learned Last Week" and then use that title to jumpstart our poems. I worked on trying to use my imagination more and take leaps.

Everyone in the class has so much talent and it was a pleasure to hear and share their work.

The classes at the Iowa Festival are from 2-5 pm, leaving a lot of room to work, eat, sleep, visit museums, chat, drink coffee, shop and run. I loved the flexibility. I ran in the mornings, visited the art and history museums, listened to the 11 am "Elevenses" Lectures on writing, craft and literary mag submissions. On Friday, for the Elevenses the faculty shared their work. We had an opening reception on Monday night with wine and cheese in the Old Capital Museum, an Open Mic on Wednesday night and several "unsanctioned" Open Mics behind the Iowa House/Student Union where I and the majority of Festival participants stayed. As we read our poetry, we had a perfect view of the Iowa River at sunset. I made some good friends after these Open Mics and I even sold quite a few of my books!

I don't know if I can get back here next year, but I highly recommend this experience to you out there -- you'll write, network, learn and will be inspired!
Thanks again to United Arts of Wake County, Regional Artist Project Grant Award Program, which made this week possible for me!


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