“Word” fest to offer wealth of workshops



A Zora Neale Hurston Award winner, New York poet and teacher melissa christine goodrum (who spells her name in lower case) will teach a two-hour workshop about writing political poetry as part of the Word literary arts festival running Oct. 20-22.

BLUE HILL — Workshops on political poetry and preserving memories, as well as kids’ activities and a panel discussion on children’s and young adult literature, will be among the offerings at Word, the literary arts festival debuting here Oct. 20-22.

Saturday, Oct. 21, will feature three two-hour workshops for adults: political poetry with melissa christine goodrum (who spells her name in lower case), memoir with novelist Deborah Joy Corey and preserving family or community stories with documentary storyteller Galen Koch.

The fee for the adult workshops is $25. Workshop participants can register by calling Blue Hill Books at 374-5632.

Two free workshops Saturday morning are designed for children. Nature writer Kim Ridley will introduce kids 8 and older to the craft of writing from close observation. Bundy Boit will offer a program related to her picture book, “Milkweed is for Monarchs.”

On Saturday afternoon, children’s and young-adult authors Ellen Booraem, Megan Frazer Blakemore, Cynthia Lord and Maria Padian will lead a discussion titled “Can’t You Write About Something More Pleasant? Acknowledging Reality in Novels for Kids and Teens.” Admission will be free.

All of these programs will be held at the Blue Hill Public Library. Details are available at www.wordfestival.org.

In an era noted for its highly charged politics, New York poet, teacher, editor and activist melissa christine goodrum is calling her Word workshop “Speaking Out: Art as Political Resistance.”

“It is the poet’s job to honestly depict, narrate and reflect on the beliefs, dreams, tragedies, fears and great achievements of humanity,” goodrum said. Participants will study contemporary poets such as Rosa Alcala, Tyehimba Jess and Tracy K. Smith to identify structures and poetic devices they can use to write their own political poems.

Recipient of a Zora Neale Hurston Award from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, goodrum’s poetry has been published in the New York Quarterly, The Torch, The Tiny. Transmission and by Other Rooms Press and “Bowery Women: Poems,” an anthology. She teaches writing in the New York City public school system and has performed and offered writing workshops in Blue Hill during the George Stevens Academy Arts Festival.

Galen Koch’s workshop will be “Art of the Interview and Finding the Story,” an offshoot of her project collecting stories in fishing communities via a traveling media lab. Using smartphones or laptops, participants will learn how to identify, interview for and preserve family or community stories.

Koch grew up in Stonington, and after college studied documentary storytelling in radio and multimedia at Portland’s Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Koch has produced audio stories for NPR, BBC Word Service and The Heart. She lives in Portland and is a consultant with Harpswell Coastal Academy, a charter school.

Castine’s Deborah Joy Corey believes that every life is composed of stories. Her memoir workshop aims to be a starting point for participants to shape their singular life stories in writing, or to begin longer memoirs.

Corey is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, “Losing Eddie” and “The Skating Pond.”

In “Go Wild: Nature Writing for Kids,” children aged 8 and older will create their own booklets of nature observations, prompted by Brooklin nature writer Kim Ridley. She is the award-winning author of the nonfiction picture books “The Secret Pool,” “The Secret Bay” and “Extreme Survivors,” due out later in the fall.

Penobscot writer, playwright and pianist/composer Bundy Boit this year published “Milkweed is for Monarchs,” a picture book describing one woman’s efforts to preserve the milkweed plants that nurture the imperiled monarch butterfly. Her Saturday morning workshop will be suitable for children aged three and up.

Saturday afternoon’s children’s and young adult panelists are all award-winning Maine authors, many of whose books approach difficult subjects, ranging from autism to substance abuse, with humor and compassion. Ellen Booraem of Brooklin writes fantasy novels for ages 10-14, most recently “Texting the Underworld.” Megan Frazer Blakemore writes for both children and teens in books ranging from “The Water Castle” to her recent young-adult novel “Very in Pieces.” A Newbery Honor winner with her first book, “Rules,” Cynthia Lord has written three more middle-grade novels as well as the Hotrod Hamster picture books and an early-reader series. Maria Padian’s young-adult novels include “Out of Nowhere,” about Somali immigrants, and her most recent “Wrecked,” about a college-campus rape.

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