Berkshire Eagle article about Margaret Ronald and Elizabeth Bear

October 15, 2009

Tonight at 7pm at Griffin 3, Inkberry will partner with the Williams College English Department to present an evening of speculative fiction featuring Margaret Ronald and Elizabeth Bear.

There’s a great article about the event online here at the Eagle: What if?

Hope to see you at the reading — should be grand!


Seth Brown & WordPlay in the Beacon

November 23, 2008

Congratulations to Seth Brown, whose WordPlay reading got rave reviews in the MCLA Beacon! The reviewer, Mark Burridge, praised Seth’s reading from his latest project, From God to Verse (a rendering of the entire Torah into rhyming couplets) as well as his fabulous freestyle abilities.

You can read the article here: Seth Brown Plays With Words at Inkberry/Papyri Reading

PSA: events page updated

November 17, 2008

The events page at the Inkberry website has been updated with info on our next few events: readings by Jennifer Trainer Thompson (author of many excellent cookbooks), poet Robert Ronnow, and novelist Juliane Hiam. Check it out.

WordPlay, Scriv, and poems for Jill

December 8, 2007

Tonight‘s WordPlay reading at Papyri Books — actually at the Papyri Books annex, a long railcar of a space lined with exposed brick and festooned with Christmas lights — featured three writers from Scriv, Inkberry’s MCLA student writers’ group. It was a packed-house event — once all the chairs were full, people clustered in the back, sat in the floor on the aisles, and commandeered all of the step-stools from next door to use as extra seats.

The reading was a good chance to get a sense for some of what the Scriv students are up to. All three of the readers shared really interesting work. (I think my favorite piece was the third one, a delicious little piece of speculative fiction that seemed to be set in our own universe except for the part where it was possible to record a day of one’s life and to give to someone else.)

It was also Inkberry’s chance to say thank you to Jill, who’s been our executive director since August of 2006. Linda (the president of the board) and I both spoke — which was nicely symmetrical, since I worked closely with Jill when she first came on board and Linda worked closely with her during her E.D. tenure — and each of us read a poem in her honor.

Linda read W.S. Merwin‘s Berryman, which has one of the best endings of any poem I know:

I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

And I read Thomas’ Lux‘s “An Horatian Notion,” which is one of my very favorite poems about writing (and about creativity in general) — I’ve had it tacked up over my desk for years. I love the poem so much I’ll repost it here, beneath the extended-entry link — a few people asked for a copy, at the reading, so here ’tis.

A thousand thanks, again, to Jill, for doing an overwhelming and consuming job with so much passion and heart.

Read the rest of this entry »

An evening with MASSPoP

October 22, 2007

On a hot September night, ten poets gathered around the big table in the Inkberry office, beneath the giant inkberry painting, to talk about poetry in our region. The roundtable (er — square table?) was convened by Charles Coe of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as part of the MassPoP (Massachusetts Poetry Outreach Project — learn more here.)

The purpose of the MassPoP is “to create resources to aid and support the Massachusetts poetry community.” Their first project is the creation of a statewide database of poets, presenters, and programs; their second project has been a series of focus groups around the state, each designed to gather information about who Massachusetts poets are, what we want and need, and what our priorities are.

We talked about our lives and work, what organizations we’re involved with, venues and reading series’es, and the state of poetry in our corner of the state. Around the table were poets who spanned the county (and beyond) — Great Barrington to North Adams (even to the hilltowns and Greenfield) and everything in between. A number of the faces there were familiar to me, but not all; a number of the folks there were longtime residents of the region, though at least one was brand-new.

For me, the most interesting part of the evening was when Charles asked us to read a list of possible MassPoP projects and rank our top five priorities. When we shared those priorities aloud, it became clear that for almost everyone in the room, poetry education topped the list: bringing poetry into the schools, introducing kids to the reading and writing of poetry, helping educators learn how to teach poetry. (For a few of us, the top priority was bringing poetry to people on the margins — in hospitals, prisons, substance abuse centers, shelters for battered women and so on.)

Good things will come out of the meeting, for sure. For one thing, MassPoP is poised to do some really good work. For another, it was sweet to see Inkberry be the meeting-place where lovers and writers of poetry from around the region could gather, share a meal and conversation, and leave fortified for the important work of making our poems come to life.

Reflections on a joint workshop with the Elizabeth Freeman center

April 24, 2007

Today was the first session of a new poetry workshop — a collaboration between Inkberry and the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

It was an amazing and inspiring experience. I posted about it on my own blog; if you’re interested, you can read that post here.

Thanks, Inkberry, for extending this invitation to me. In a lot of ways, this workshop reminds me of the early days of the organization — and just how exciting it felt to be sharing our love of writing and the written word with so many different folks from around our community.

Get ekphrastic! (Guest post from Paula Orlando)

April 2, 2007

The next WordPlay event on 4/14 at Papyri Books is concentrating on Ekphrastic Poetry, in response to the “The Moon is Broken” exhibit at WCMA. Poet Paula Orlando writes about her ekphrastic experience.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was eight years old, but didn’t get serious about it until I moved to San Francisco and became involved with the Poetics Program at New College of California, where I studied with Tom Clark and was one of the founding editors of the college’s literary journal Prosodia. I received my MFA in English/Creative Writing at Mills College in Oakland and then moved to upstate New York to join the graduate program in English at SUNY Albany. Currently, I am a grant project manager at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and live at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, where I am enjoying my involvement with the local arts community. The Inkberry Thursday night writer’s group has inspired me to begin working on a series of short stories.

At Inkberry’s Thursday night writer’s group, Jill suggested that we visit the Williams College Museum of Art and compose an “ekphrastic” poem in response to one of the photos in The Moon is Broken exhibit. I felt a bit apprehensive about this exercise because much of the imagery is abstract, and a lot of my past writing has tended toward the abstract and has been received as inaccessible. But when I saw the surreal Robert D’Alessandro photo of an elephant walking among the clouds I was quite taken with it because elephants are such ponderous, earthbound creatures. I immediately thought of the elephant in the photo as a kind of sky god, oddly light and airy. And then I thought of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha, widely popular in India as a benevolent god of good fortune. So, instead of writing a poem, I wrote a one-page “fable” about Ganesha, in which I drew upon some of the traditional stories and tweaked or reversed them, so that Ganesha, rather than staying with the people on earth and helping them out with their daily woes, rather selfishly returns to his mother in paradise. It is we, not this elephant, who are bound to the earth. This piece is consistent with much of my recent writing, which has focused on deconstructing religious motifs and symbols in an effort to problematize them or get closer to the spiritual “truths” that they sometimes obscure or distort. I also like experimenting with different “voices,” and, for this piece, I adopted the tone and stylistic mannerisms of the traditional fable. The ekphrastic poetry exercise turned out to be a lot of fun, and I am pleased with the piece that it inspired. Here’s an excerpt from my poem:

“In what dream,” he asked “would you hope to walk securely with two faces, one in front and one in back, like those who wear papier-mâché masks to confuse my cousin tiger? The tiger is the mind, and he is always following you.

“I cannot return,” he said, “to a place I never really was.”