Vermont Storyhouse with Coleman Barks, Marie Howe & Eugene Friesen July 23-26, 2015 Bellows Falls, VT
“I’ve always wanted to share the craft and model the knack for accompanying poetry and prose that working with Coleman Barks always inspires. ‘Vermont Storyhouse’ is the perfect context for that – a relaxed, beautiful environment where magic is welcomed, collaborations blossom, and breakthroughs happen repeatedly.” – Eugene Friesen
Join poet/performers Coleman Barks and Marie Howe, and composer/cellist Eugene Friesen for a once-in-a-lifetime experience celebrating the art of language in performance.
For poets and writers, this is an opportunity to generate new work and/or take your existing work to the stage while dramatizing and enhancing its intent with the support of master teachers and fellow performers and musicians. For musicians, the workshop offers a chance to birth new music from the dramatic and emotional imagery of language and story while practicing the methods of improvisation, deep listening, and interplay developed by Eugene Friesen.
Vermont Storyhouse will welcome a small number of qualifying writer/poets and musicians to explore the transformational quality of story and poetry in oral settings. This intimate workshop matches musicians with readers to develop collaborative presentations for public performance in various venues in and around Bellows Falls, Vermont. The process will include musician’s workshops, class feedback, audio/video analysis, along with group conversations with Coleman Barks, writing classes with Marie Howe, coaching sessions with Marie and Eugene, and immersion into a historic New England village.
Take-aways for Participants: • new work generated in workshop sessions • enhanced stage presence, rhythm, and experience through collaborations and coaching • reaction to your work from a supportive community audience • new confidence from performing alongside master teachers/performers • insights and inspiration from group interaction • recordings of your performance
Coleman Barks taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Georgia for thirty years. He is the author of numerous Rumi translations and has been a student of Sufism since 1977. Barks' work has contributed to an extremely strong following of Rumi in the English-speaking world and due to his work, the ideas of Sufism have crossed numerous cultural boundaries over the past few decades. As a performer, Coleman epitomizes the values of spontaneity, rhythm, and timing – his performances all over the globe featuring his own poetry along with the works of Rumi, are consistently marked by emotion, humor and insight.
Marie Howe, New York State Poet Laureate (2012-14) is a widely-published poet and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University and Columbia University.
Her first collection, The Good Thief (1988), was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Margaret Atwood, who praised Howe’s “poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.” In that collection, Howe’s oracular yet self-doubting speakers often voice their concerns through Biblical and mythical allusions. Stanley Kunitz, on selecting the book for the Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets, observed, “Her long, deep-breathing lines address the mysteries of flesh and spirit, in terms accessible only to a woman who is very much of our time and yet still in touch with the sacred.”
In 1989, Howe’s brother John died of an AIDS-related illness. As Howe states in an AGNI interview, “John’s living and dying changed my aesthetic completely.” What the Living Do (1997), an elegy to John, was praised by Publishers Weekly as one of the five best poetry collections of the year. Stripping her poems of metaphor, Howe composed the collection as a transparent, accessible documentary of loss.
Drawing upon decades of international performances with poets (Robert Bly, Billy Collins, Mark Doty, Marie Howe, Jane Hirshfield, Coleman Barks, Yevgeny Yevtushenko and others), Eugene Friesen has developed an approach to accompanying language that deepens its impact and allows the listener to create intuitive imagery, associations and meaning. A recipient of four Grammy Awards for his work with the Paul Winter Consort, Eugene is active internationally as a concert and recording artist, speaker and clinician. He is a Professor of Music at Berklee College of Music in Boston and is an artist in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
Immanuel Episcopal Church
Performances and classes will be held at the historic "Stone Church" of Bellows Falls, Vermont. The beautiful church was designed by one of America's best-known Gothic revival architects, Richard M. Upjohn. The wheel-chair accessible building is a perfect example of the French country Gothic style of about the 14th century. The fish scale roof, with multi-colored bands of slate, is typical of the Victorian Gothic style of architecture.
Featuring an air-conditioned chapel/classroom, a 9-foot Steinway grand piano, gorgeous stained glass, and warm acoustics, the church is a welcoming and inspiring venue for performing artists, audiences and workshop participants.
The church campus includes the Immanuel Retreat Center where modestly-priced rooms are available, and where dinners will be served. More information available by submitting the Contact Form below.
Bellows Falls, Vermont
(From the Boston Globe) "Overlooking the Connecticut River on the Vermont-New Hampshire border, Bellows Falls feels like a step back in time. Once one of the largest paper making centers in the world, the town is replete with grand homes built by titans of the pulp, paint, canal, and railroad companies that operated there more than a century ago. Most of its diminutive downtown - a cluster of red brick buildings, including a multistory clock tower above Town Hall - is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Water has been the most valuable amenity in Bellows Falls, first making the area a prized Native American fishing spot (ancient Abenaki petroglyphs are carved in rocks by the riverbed), and later spurring the construction of mills, a bridge, and a canal system that turned the town into a hub of transportation and manufacturing. But Bellows Falls had a familiar post-industrial trajectory: By the mid-1900s most local industry had collapsed and the town fell on hard times. In more recent years, economic redevelopment and historic preservation efforts have injected new life into the community. Many of those gorgeous old homes have been restored, and a smattering of art galleries, modest restaurants, cute shops, and cozy inns makes Bellows Falls a quaint destination. "
Bellows Falls is served by Amtrak. The nearest airport is Bradley International in Hartford, Connecticut (please contact us regarding transportation to/from the airport and Bellows Falls).
Daily Schedule (as of 6/28/15)
Thursday, July 23 5PM – dinner/registration 7:30 performance: Pure Water: Coleman Barks and Marie Howe, with Eugene Friesen and Jamey Haddad
Friday, July 24 9:00 - introduction - Eugene & Marie 10:30 - Writing (What pieces to work with?) - Marie 12:30 - lunch 1:30 - 3: 30 - Language as Music - Eugene 3:45 - 5 - Conversation with Coleman 5:30 - dinner 7 - Rhythm and Collaboration – Jamey Haddad
Saturday, July 25 9 - Collaborations - Marie/Eugene/Jamey 12:30 - lunch 2:00 - Coffehouse Performances #1 (local coffee shop "Flat Iron Exchange," short walk from Stone Church) - Eugene 4:30 - Conversation with Coleman 5:30 - Dinner 7:30 – Stone Church Performances - Jamey
Sunday, July 26 9: - Exploring the Sacred with Words, Music, and Dance - Eugene/Marie/Coleman 12 - lunch 1-2 - closing circle