I am delighted to emcee a poetry workshop by poet and performer Elizabeth Austen on Sunday, April 10th, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Elizabeth will teach a SPLAB @ Doe Bay workshop called Beyond the Page: Poems Aloud, Poems Alive. The pay-what-you-can workshop will be held at Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island, truly one of Washington state’s most beautiful places. Following the workshop, Elizabeth will give a free reading at 7 p.m., which will be accompanied by an open mic hosted by yours truly. Many thanks to poet and SPLAB founder Paul Nelson for the opportunity.
What follows is SPLAB’s writeup of Elizabeth’s workshop. Scroll to the bottom of the page to learn about Doe Bay Resort’s generous discounts for those who attend.
What does it take to make poems come alive in performance? Commitment, practice… and some skills that poet, performer and public radio producer Elizabeth Austen will teach in this interactive workshop.
Performing poems for an audience doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it can be learned, and the exploration can help you become a better reader and writer. The process involves becoming intimate with the poem—fortunately, it turns out that this is most pleasurable work and extremely useful for revision. This three-hour workshop will provide concrete tools to improve your reading skills and public presence. We’ll explore the physical nature of language, and practice embodying the poem – backing it up with breath, voice and body. Applicable to all styles of poetry. Bring your own poems or poems by another.
And here is Elizabeth’s bio, also available on her blog:
Elizabeth Austen spent her teens and twenties working in the theatre and writing poems. A six-month solo walkabout in the Andes region of South America led her to focus exclusively on poetry. She is the author of two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone(Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet, part of the 2010 Toadlily Press quartet, Sightline. Her first full-length collection, Every Dress A Decision, will be published by Blue Begonia Press in spring 2011.
She is a dynamic performer of her own and others’ poems, and has been featured at the Skagit River Poetry Festival, Richard Hugo House Literary Series, Bumbershoot and elsewhere. She frequently teaches the art of poetry aloud, believing that “something magical is possible in a performance that doesn’t happen anywhere else—something electric, immediate, and entirely ephemeral…an exchange between performer and audience that is fluid and a little bit dangerous.”
For the past 10 years, Elizabeth has produced literary programming for KUOW, 94.9, one of Seattle’s NPR affiliates, introducing recordings of Pacific Northwest literary events and interviewing local and national poets. She served as the Washington “roadshow” poet for 2007, giving readings and workshops in rural areas around the state.
Doe Bay is offering all workshop attendants a 25% discount on lodging, and, if you pay for two nights at the regular price, you can stay on Sunday and Monday for free to attend the SPLAB event and/or Monday Movie Nights at the delectable Doe Bay Café. Just be sure to mention that you are coming for the SPLAB event.
SPLAB, also known as SPoken Word LAB, is a nonprofit poetry and performance center based in the Columbia City neighborhood in Seattle. I first learned about SPLAB by attending the Living Room writing circle on Tuesdays at the Columbia School, and I continue to be grateful for the poetry critiques I’ve received there.