Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vivian Faith Prescott: Time for Poetry This Sunday

Editor's note: The rest of the world may think its spring, but here at 49 Writers we've been saying (with a wink) that it's not at all too late to have a (late) winter poetry discussion. Just look outside at the snow! Thanks once again to Sandra Kleven for pioneering and producing this wonderful online event.

Alaska Poets in Late Winter is an event where poets get to sit around a warm fireplace with wine or hot cocoa and an open book or two and chat about poetry. Well, at least that’s what I imagine they’re doing. Really, it’s happening all online at 49 Writers. Maybe a poet is actually curled up on a couch in her pajamas with her laptop, or perhaps a poet is sitting at his computer desk with his favorite fuzzy green slippers on.

For many Alaskans, winter is a time when the literary world unfolds itself and takes flight. It’s a time for dancing and storytelling, readings, workshops, and book tours. Alaska Poets in Winter is just one aspect of the season’s literary events.

Last year, I participated from Puerto Rico. Though I was surrounded by palm trees and a turquoise ocean, I really wanted to be in the midst of icy wind and snow and especially friends. I was delighted when asked to participate as a guest with such writers as Alaska Writer Laureate Peggy Shumaker, UAA faculty Zack Rogow, and Cirque editor Mike Burwell.

This year's online event will feature poets Kelsea Habecker, Gretchen Diemer, Nicole Stellon O'Donnell, and Tom Sexton. Moderator Sandra Kleven, who has organized this event three years running, has once again created a separate informational website for the event, creating a one-stop resource for reading more about these four poets and their work prior to or during the Sunday event. (The actual discussion takes place here at 49 Writers online, in the comments section.)

Last year, Sandra Kleven, who is also an accomplished poet, kept the discussion going with insightful questions directed toward her guests. Peggy Shumaker gave writers helpful suggestions such as attending AWP and where to find resources for submitting our work. Zack Rogow discussed the challenges of translating poetry and the writing process. Mike Burwell talked about how he developed Cirque into a fine literary journal.

Setting aside a specific time and place to discuss poetry is a delightful idea, especially since we’ve likely been snowdeep in our writing, which is often lonely work. Join us on Sunday March 25th at 49 Writers between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. (come for the whole event or drop in any time you'd like). I’ll be there, too, this time from Kodiak, Alaska, sipping my chocolate hazelnut coffee with my reindeer moccasins on.

P.S. to Poetry Lovers who use FB -- can you share this to your Facebook page on or before Sunday?

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