Friday, June 30, 2017

In gratitude: The Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching

I will attempt to speak coherently about this past week, but please forgive me if I splutter and spit and incorporate mixed metaphors and dangling modifiers and use unintelligible pronouns. The Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching was transformative, but right now I also feel as if I have been soaring enthusiastically among the mountains and stars and have just now noticed that I have a fuel leak. Pardon me while I crash-land on your golf course.

Anyway. Kerrin McCadden, my new associate director: a queen among women, a queen among teachers. Matthew Olzmann and Matthew Lippman, our tag-team visiting writer duo: watching them was a lesson in the way in which open hearts and engaged minds allow us to channel our own crazy habits and histories into the work we do in the classroom and in the world. Kamilah Aisha Moon, this year's director of the Writing Intensive: peace and gravitas, anger and forgiveness, deep attention and patience . . . an ineffable calm, an ineffable unrest. She has changed my life as a writer.

And the participants . . . I can't even begin to untangle the web of their beauties. Career teachers speaking with so much love to young teachers. Old friends opening their arms to new friends. This sounds so corny and dumb. But it was not; it was not at all. Intellectual engagement is emotional engagement. Again and again, our beloved colleagues demonstrate this truth.

I have directed this program for half a decade now. What a privilege it has been to help preserve this home of so many souls. Forgive the sentimental language. It circles some deeper well. You could call it magic. You could call it the clear and cloudy gaze. You could call it the poem.


Ruth said...

LOVE is about all I have...for everyone. I came home to a well problem and falling on the water I was about to clean-up; yet CPT and WI was so much needed. Oh, so many new friends, so many connections, so needed, and....perhaps possibilities?

We are a TRIBE indeed. Thank you so much!! With intense love,


Anne Weisgerber said...

Dear Dawn,
Holly and I had a 9-10-hour drive home, but there was double that to talk about! Thanks to the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching, my lesson-planning bag of tricks is brimming over. I look through my daily notes on teaching craft, and am astounded by how much was given -- thanks to you, Kerrin, and your excellent panel of guest lecturers and teachers. I look forward to spreading the word, that this conference should be a priority for all teachers of poetry. I hope to stay in touch with you all, and I think the word (tyvm David) I'll always use for TFP is "NICE." <3