August Spoken Word Reading and Writers Workshop

The BCAC presents their first Spoken Word event for the 2010 Exhibit Season.  Join us on Wednesday, August 11th at 7pm in the Main Gallery of the BCAC for a presentation by writer and poet Sean Hill.   Sean’s reading is also a part of the Bemidji Library Book Festival  – August 9th to the 14th.  This activity is made possible, in part, by a grant provided by the Bemidji Area Arts Endowment, a component fund of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.

Born and raised in Milledgeville, Georgia, Sean Hill has an MFA from the University of Houston.  He has received fellowships and grants from Cave Canem, the Bush Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, the University of Wisconsin, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Jerome Foundation, the Region 2 Arts Council, and Stanford University.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Callaloo, Ploughshares, Pleiades, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, The Oxford American, Tin House and other literary journals, and in the anthologies Blues Poems, Gathering Ground, The Ringing Ear, and Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.  His first book, Blood Ties & Brown Liquor, was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2008.  He lives in Bemidji, Minnesota.  More information, as well as poems, can be found at his website:

Poetry Workshop with Sean Hill – Saturday August 14th  

“Containing Your Obsessions: Writing the Villanelle.”

This workshop will provide participants with strategies for creating poetry within the constraints of the villanelle—a repetitive rhyming poetic form with French origins. If you recognize the lines “The art of losing isn’t hard to master” and “Do not go gentle into that good night” then you’ve encountered the villanelle. These poems use the complementary tension between form and content to memorable effect. Poets such as Elizabeth Bishop, Dylan Thomas, Theodore Roethke, former poetry laureate Rita Dove, and Pulitzer prize winner Natasha Trethewey have found this form useful in exploring and expressing obsessions and passions. The poet Sean Hill will provide historic background and an overview of the villanelle. Looking at the villanelles of Bishop, Thomas, Dove and others, he will discuss his and other poets’ strategies for writing and managing compelling refrains and coming up with unexpected, exciting rhymes. He will lead workshop participants through writing the first draft of a villanelle. Each participant will leave with at least the start of what could become a great poem.

The BCAC workshop will be August 14, 2010 from 9:00 am to Noon in the Region 2 Arts Council office in the lower level of the Historic Carnegie Library Building, 426 Bemidji Avenue.
Register at the Bemidji Community Art Center at 426 Bemidji Ave N.  Price: $35 for adults, $20 for students.  No need to bring writing as participants will be creating villanelles.  Workshop limit – 14 people.  For more information call the Art Center at 218-444-7570

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About Lori Forshee-Donnay

Executive Director, Bemidji Community Art Center