[This website has been left online for archival purposes.]
The Tonic of Wildness:  
Incorporating the Natural 
in Poetry and Prose

We need the tonic of wildness,--to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly to the ground. 
-- Henry David Thoreau, "Spring," Walden


What ... A one-day writing seminar

Why ... To explore using nature in your creative writing

When ... Saturday, October 6, 2012 -- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where ... Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, Springfield, Illinois (2315 Clear Lake Avenue)

How ... See registration information & fee schedule below


The seminar will feature sessions on ...

* Observing environments with all senses

* Using nature writing to explore environmental issues

* Contemporary nature poetry in its many guises

* Introduction to the Japanese haibun tradition

* Discussions of environment in fiction and nonfiction writing

* And more

* Teachers can earn up to six CPDUs

Photos courtesy Tenley Fohl / Tenley Fohl Photography 
(Click on images to see enlarged versions.)

Registration information & fee schedule ...

To secure your spot, download and complete the registration form on the Forms page and mail it plus the appropriate fee to 

Vachel Lindsay Association
P. O. Box 9356
Springfield, IL 62791-9356
Attn:  Nature Writing

Standard fee ... $50
Member, Illinois Audubon Society ... $40
Member, Vachel Lindsay Association ... $40
Student ... $35
Plus Optional Lunch ... $5 (you may also bring your own)
Extended Deadline:  September 30, 2012 -- Limited to first 25 to register
Note that all proceeds go to the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary and the Vachel Lindsay Association equally.

For additional information contact vachellindsay@gmail.com

Workshop leaders ...

Tracy Zeman has over six years of experience teaching poetry, literature and composition in college and junior high classrooms.  Her own work has been published in journals such as
Beloit Poetry Journal, jubilat, and Cutbank.  She has been awarded two writing fellowships in the last three years at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.  She received her MFA in creative writing from George Mason University, and she is currently seeking a publisher for her first collection, Empire of Grass.  See her Poet's Forum at the Beloit Poetry Journal blog.  Tracy is a member of both the Illinois Audubon Society and the Vachel Lindsay Association, for which she sits on the Board and chairs the Education Committee.  "I grew up and still live in an area that once was prairie and, until recently, knew almost nothing about it.  After reading about the North American grasslands (see a swath of land beginning just east of the Mississippi River and extending to the Rocky Mountains), and its fragmented history, I began to see how the grasslands are a place of origins.  Subsequently, the prairie became a subject that I wanted to explore through poetry."

Lisa Higgs
has taught poetry and composition courses at the University of Illinois Springfield since 2008.  She received her MFA in creative writing from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her chapbook of poetry, Lodestar, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011.  A Pushchart Prize nominee, her poetry has been included or is forthcoming in PMS poemmemoirstory, Water~Stone Review, Oyez, Midwestern Gothic, and numerous other journals.  She is currently completing a new collection, which includes a section of haibun.  She reads poetry submissions for Quiddity international literary journal and public-radio program.  Lisa is president of the Vachel Lindsay Association.  "From Minnesota to Iowa to Illinois, the Midwestern landscape has given me an appreciation for silence and a need for a more quiet, contemplative poetry.  Not because I haven't lived in loud, noisy urban areas in the Midwest, but because even when surrounded by the bustle of a city, I really long for back roads, lake country, tall grasses, and a few cows in the pasture right around the corner.  In my brashest poetic moments, I find it difficult to avoid hinting at my own ideal midland Walden."

Ted Morrissey
is the author of the novel Men of Winter (2010); and his short fiction has appeared in nearly twenty journals, including Glimmer Train Stories, The Chariton Review, PANK, and the Tulane Review.  He holds a PhD in English studies from Illinois State University and an MA in English with a specialization in fiction writing from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  He has taught writing and literature classes for 29 years, including at Benedictine University Springfield since 1999 and University of Illinois Springfield since 2010.  His current writing project is a scholarly monograph on the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf.  He is a former editor of and current reader for Quiddity international literary journal and public-radio program.  Ted sits on the Board of the Vachel Lindsay Association and chairs the Communications Committee.  "Cognitive anthropologists have suggested that narrative evolved out of early humans' need to quickly and effectively analyze the potential benefits and hazards of a new environment, and then communicate the findings of that analysis via cause-and-effect relationships; that is, storytelling.  As such, storytelling is deeply rooted in description of the natural world, and the unconscious essence of a narrative resides in its setting."

Subpages (1): Forms