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Poetic writing workshop

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At the Nederland Community Center

By Serene Karplus

As any cowboy poet, rap singer, or casual writer can assure us, the world of poetry ranges from simple nursery rhymes to long complex odes, from highly structured to free flowing. Most of us connect with poetry somewhere in between these extremes. With such a tremendous variety of poems in our world, we no longer need to feel intimidated by the concept of “poetry” as some nebulous intellectual pursuit beyond our reach.

Gilpin’s 2008 Poet-in-Residence, Christine Weeber, will lead a workshop next Monday, June 17th at 1:15 p.m. to expand and explore our concept of poetry. We will listen to famous contemporary poets read their work, then discuss what makes them “poets.” What exactly is a “poem?” How does the language differ (if it does) from prose? After clarifying our understanding of the vast world of poetry, we will practice bringing our own life experience into some brief writing exercises that help us discover the poet within each of us.

Christine’s approach to poetry is unique. She seeks to understand the human world within the context of presences in the natural world, exploring topics as disparate as ravens and Teflon, chemical injuries and cancer battles/ dances. Her view of poetry holds no rules, no boundaries, no right or wrong. The classes she teaches embrace poetry as a container, a place to hold a moment, an idea, an image, an experience, or an emotion. Each poem is a space for exploration, a place in which to move energy, be it calm, ecstatic, angry, or sad, an expression of beauty or darkness. Each poem is a journey, an experience of a different way of speaking. Sometimes journal entries, essays, or articles are not the right size vessel for a sense or thought and the flexibility of a poem can be just what we need.

A busy freelance writer and editor for newspapers, journals, and magazines, Christine is also an award-winning creative writer and poet. Her love of poetry began in high school when her performance of a meditative poem by Theodore Roethke won a state award. Her love of poetry and literature continued as she acquired doctorate degrees in English and Philosophy, along with a master’s degree in Anthropology and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies.

Recently, Nederland library patrons enjoyed her performance of spoken poetry with the African rhythms of Andre Mallinger. In Montana, her poetry is known in conjunction with the art of plein-art painter Aaron Schuerr. Her published chapbook “Sastrugi”, published in 2009, brings a small collection of her poems within easy reach. Five years ago, the Gilpin Library invited her to teach several poetry workshops for children and older adults, “PoeTree: Words. Place. People,” at which she and her students explored the poetry of song lyrics and life experience. She has taught classes from journaling to poetry, nature lover’s poetry, ekphrasis: writing poetry in response to visual art, word dance, collaborative poetry-making, write on: spoken word poetry, and a workshop on poetry and history at the Lincoln Hills Resort in Pactolus.

Join us on Monday at the Nederland Community Center for this free workshop with Christine, sponsored by Nederland Area Seniors and the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging’s Create Our Future funds. All ages of adults are welcome. Bring a pen, paper, and an open mind and spirit. Please avoid wearing perfumes or other strong scents.

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