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Writing Through Winter:
Seeking the Bone Structure of the Landscape


                                            Photo courtesy Tenley Fohl Photography


I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape--
the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  
Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.
~ Andrew Wyeth

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Saturday, February 9
9 a.m. to 4 p.m
Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center, Springfield, IL


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If you sense that a story, essay or poem is lurking beneath a blank page, join local instructors Lisa Higgs, Ted Morrissey, Nikki Overcash and Tracy Zeman as they lead you on a series of writing explorations that will pull words from the "dead feeling of winter."

This workshop will feature four distinct writing sessions that will offer participants the chance to learn new ways to enter into their writing--all while taking some time to explore and complete instructor-led writing exercises that feature the "bone structure" of Lincoln Memorial Garden in wintertime.  Participants will explore ...

* How images and objects associated with winter can help you generate narrative in the form of memories and linked associations.  The session will also experiment with how different senses trigger narrative, and participants will draw conclusions regarding specific senses, like smell or touch, and the potency of the memories they evoke.

* The connection between observation and journal writing as a means to jump start "serious" writing in any genre.  Let the joy of unexpected musing--from field journals to dream journals and everything in between--become a necessary fuel to your winter writing.

* The mesostic form using images from a winter walk in Lincoln Memorial Garden.  Participants will use techniques such as list making, associative word gathering, and substitution in order to create their mesostic poems  The session will also focus on keeping a reading journal and how research can inform and influence writing.

* How experimentation with genre can help you break out of your writing rut.  In addition, this session will explore how building around a theme using multiple genres can produce innovative and unexpected writing.

Direct questions to VachelLindsay@gmail.com


Registration

To register, download and print the Registration Form below.  Then mail the completed Form with a check to the Vachel Lindsay Association, P.O. Box 9356, Springfield, IL 62791-9356.

The fee is $50, with discounts available for members of Lincoln Memorial Garden or the Vachel Lindsay Association, and for students.  The collected fees will be donated to Lincoln Memorial Garden and the VLA equally.

Registration deadline:  February 2.   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Photo by Lisa Higgs

Readings

Participants are encouraged to read the following works beforehand, as they will be discussed during the workshop:

Excerpt from "The Pedersen Kid" (1961) by William H. Gass -- download pdf below
"The Moment" by Margaret Atwood -- click here
"What You See When You Think of Home" by John Mark DeMoss -- click here
Excerpt from A Writer's Diary by Virginia Woolf -- download pdf below
Excerpt from Morning Earth:  Field Notes in Poetry by John Caddy -- download pdf below
Excerpt from Basho's Journey -- download pdf below
Excerpt from Mesostic Remedy by Alec Finlay -- download pdf below
"Eastern Meadowlark" et al. by Tracy Zeman -- download pdf below
"Greater Prairie Chicken" et al. by Tracy Zeman -- download pdf below
"Swainson's Hawk" et al. by Tracy Zeman -- download pdf below
"What's a Mesostic?" -- download pdf below
Horned Lark, Prairie Chicken, Swainison's Hawk, Upland Sandpaper -- download jpeg images below
 

Workshop Leaders

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 Pushcart Prize nominee, her poetry has been included in PMS poemmemoirstory, Water~Stone Review, Oyez, Midwestern Gothic, and numerous other journals.  She is currently completing a new collection.  She reads poetry submissions for Quiddity international literary journal and public-radio program.  Lisa is president of the Vachel Lindsay Association.

Ted Morrissey has taught literature and writing courses for 29 years, including at Benedictine University Springfield and University of Illinois Springfield.  He earned an MA in English with a focus in fiction writing from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1995, and a PhD in English studies from Illinois State University in 2009.  His novel
Men of Winter, originally published in 2010, will be released in a revised and expanded edition in 2013 by Twelve Winters Press, which he founded.  His novelette Figures in Blue will be released in 2013 by Vagabondage Press in digital formats.  His short stories have appeared in nearly twenty journals, including Glimmer Train Stories, Paris Transcontinental, The Chariton Review, and PANK.  Most recently he has completed a scholarly monograph tentatively titled The Beowulf Poet and His Real Monsters for Edwin Mellen Press which is in the beginning stages of peer review.  He reads fiction for Quiddity international literary journal and public-radio program.  Ted sits on the board of the Vachel Lindsay Association, and chairs the Public Information Committee.

Nikki Overcash is currently a composition instructor in the Capitol Scholars Honors Program at University of Illinois Springfield.  She also coaches the  UIS Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team, where she works with students on events such as poetry, prose, and drama.  She received her MA in English from the University of Illinois Springfield.  Her poetry has been published in several journals, such as Prism Quarterly and The Alchemist Review, and she is currently working on a collection of personal essays about her time abroad as a Peace Corps Volunteer in China.  Nikki sits on the board of the Vachel Lindsay Association and is a member of the Public Information Committee.


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 in Fairfax, Virginia, 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 sits on the board of the Vachel Lindsay Association, and chairs the Educational Programs Committee.

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