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We're So Excited We Can Hardly Contain Ourselves!

Karen Shoemaker

Friday, May 28, 2021

So much to tell you!

1.         Workshops! Workshops! Workshops! Four new this summer and more on the way this fall. Registration now open.
2.         Larksong is going to Greece! Join us! Our first international writers’ workshop is back on! September 4-12, 2021.
3.         Larksong Writers Place has a place! A physical address!

Workshops: Let me start off by saying that even though I’ve been a writer for the better part of 45 years and teaching for several decades, I learn something valuable every time I sit in on one of Larksong’s workshops and the upcoming workshops look just as promising as the ones we’ve held this past year.  This past session we welcomed writers from all over the U.S. and Canada, and even one joined us from Portugal! We will continue to offer on-line workshops even though we now have a real home.

Registration is now open for the following workshops, with more coming in a hot minute:
                  1. “Follow the Coyote” with Kelly Madigan, a generative workshop that includes writing and visits by local and national wildlife experts for educational components about coyote behavior and the need for good practices to achieve coexistence.

                  2. “And the Beat Goes On: A Writing Workshop with Universal Intentions” with Barbara Schmitz. Slightly influenced by poets and writers of the Beat Generation, this workshop will offer opportunities for each participant to explore personal connections to universal themes via writing, readings, and discussions.

                  3. “Are You Writing About Your Mother Again? Formal Poetry to Tame the Demons of Obsession” with Maria Nazos. In this five-week course, we’ll use formal poetry as a way to tame and set loose our obsessions. From the pantoum to the triolet to the sestina, we’ll inhabit a series of contained forms, then work against them

You can find registration forms on our website:  www.larksongwritersplace.org/online-workshops

 

Shhhh – listen closely and you can hear it – the Muse is calling “Come With Me!”

While we’re on the subject of writing workshops, let’s talk traveling! We got the official word just yesterday that our pandemic-postponed trip to Greece is back on! There is still time to join us! Our travel agent tells us that airline tickets are low right now but will be going up soon, so if you’ve ever wanted to write in the land of Homer and Sappho, myth and sunshine, now is the time to act. September 4-12, 2021 hosted by Executive Travel, this trip is the brainchild of Larksong Board Member Dorothy Ramsey, author of Milly for Mayor. Everyone is welcome – writers and non-writers alike. For more information go to our  Traveling Workshops page  

And last but not least – Larksong has a real home! A physical address! Bricks and mortar you can touch! And soon we will gather there and write and read and basically be a community of writers! Okay, I’m going to be honest with you, having this part of the Larksong dream come true feels a little like being the dog that caught the car. I have moments of complete stillness when I think, Oh my gosh. This is really happening. I have other moments of crazy racing thoughts and excitement so intense I think someone switched out my decaf for the real thing. (Excitement in your 60s is different from excitement in your youth.)

We have so much to tell you about this exciting development that it won’t fit in this already over-long post. We’re planning an open house shortly after our closing date in mid-July when you can come see what we have and offer suggestions for what we should do with the space. We will also be starting a volunteer list for those who want to be involved in making Larksong Writing Place all it can be.

Meet Larksong Board Member, Twyla Hansen

Amanda Shu

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Hello! I’m Larksong’s intern Amanda Grace Shu, bringing you another interview with one of the talented members of the Larksong Board of Directors. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you all to Twyla Hansen, Nebraska’s State Poet from 2013 to 2018.

Twyla met Karen Gettert Shoemaker, Larksong’s founder, through the long-running writing group Prairie Trout. “[Larksong] has been a dream of Karen’s for a long time,” Twyla said. “I got involved when Karen called me and explained that in order to be a non-profit, we needed to have a board of directors—otherwise she would have done it all herself! I was happy to say yes. I think it’s in our best interest for this to be a community organization.

“It’s a brand-new concept for Lincoln,” she added. “There’s nothing quite like this in Nebraska. But there have always been good writers here, and I think Larksong is going to be the key to developing that network of writers. Our goal is to really be that center of the writing universe.”

­As State Poet—not Poet Laureate, she explained, as John Neihardt holds that title in perpetuity—Twyla has traveled all over Nebraska. “I probably averaged 4000 miles a year,” she said. She loved visiting high schools and especially middle schools due to the students’ enthusiasm: “They don’t hold back at times,” she said, beaming. “I just love it when they can’t wait to write something! They’re so eager.”

Twyla has seen the same enthusiasm in the class she taught at Larksong in January. One prompt she gave sparked so much inspiration that participants had already written a full page of notes by the time Twyla finished explaining it! “[Larksong] is a great place for both new and experienced writers to practice writing,” she said. “It’s something I believe in strongly—you have to practice writing.”

When I asked how her own writing practice routine has been affected by the pandemic, the conversation took a somber tone. “We’ve all had a lot of losses,” she said. “Almost everybody knows somebody who has passed away [due to COVID]. But this culture doesn’t really allow open grieving.” For Twyla, writing is how she processes everything that has happened in the past few years, which include personal losses as well as global concerns.

It’s a comforting thing to hear from a fellow writer, which touches upon another important aspect of Larksong: building community among writers in Nebraska and beyond. “There’s a lot to be said for writers supporting each other,” Twyla said. “And I think that’s what could make Larksong unique. It’s hard to get people together right now, but post-COVID, I think Larksong can be a place where people come together.”

Her advice to young poets? Read extensively, try new things, and write every day, even if nothing comes of it. “It’s kind of like inviting the muse to visit,” she said. “The muse may not be with you that day, but at least you’ve honored that process.”

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