Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gypsy Poetry Slam and the Kentucky Women Writers Conference Part II

I had intended on posting this the day of, or perhaps the day after the last day of Gypsy Slam, but everything was such a whirlwind for me that I ended up getting 10 minutes of sleep in two days and sort of running through Monday in a haze.  Which says something about Gypsy Slam and the KWWC, doesn't it?

I'd never actually been to the KWWC, but after spending a late night out for Gypsy Slam, I woke up very late, finished some of my work, and drove the hour and a half drive back to Lexington to see Diane Ackerman's reading/dialog.  From conversations before the event, it sounded like most of the people there were had read (or had come to see her because of) her book The Zookeeper's Wife, but she read one of her essays.  It was on writing and nature (and many other things), and at one point she read "School Prayer," the first poem from her collection of poetry I Praise my Destroyer:

After the reading and dialogue, Laura Yes Yes asked Patricia Smith if I could come to the second workshop.  Who would have thought that just asking, I could sit in on a workshop lead by the estimable Patricia Smith.  The catch, though, was that I had missed the first workshop and had to write two poems before the following day.  So I went home, ate, worked, and then wrote, and wrote and wrote and drove back for the workshop the next day.  Maybe you missed it, but I didn't: there was no sleep between those two events.

The workshop, though, was interesting.  "Confronting the Poem That Strikes You Silent" was a lot of opening up to one another, which of course involved trust and respect, and if I do say so myself, some amazing writing.  Patricia Smith is observant and if not shrewd, astute, workshop leader, and I think everyone left with more than they came in with.


  1. Wow@workshopping with Patricia Smith. Yep. That's pretty amazing.

  2. Yes! It was excellent. I believe Patricia Smith sort of 'tours' every so often with her workshop, so you might be able to find her close to home.