This report was written by guest blogger and Ekphrasian John Alexanderson. Thanks, John!
I returned from Santa Fe, NM and the Glen Workshop [West] on August 7. We had a fulfilling week of open reading, meaninful interaction with other poets, and even quality entertainment provided by Over the Rhine.
I have attended the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe for 6 years and have met many other poets and instructors of exceptional ability. This has led to positive input on my poetry (as well as that of others), constructive criticism, and even disagreement. In my case, I have learned how to view my poetry more critically, yet to be selective about what of others' criticism is appropriate. I believe this is a part of the growth in my craft that I seek.
In addition, other arts are workshopped for the week. For example, there are workshops in painting, film, memoir, songwriting, film, play/screenwriting, and others. The latter would be a good place to workshop Nor Ever Chaste, Sørina’s fine play. The focus of the Conference is Christ, but Christianity in a more ecumenical sense than other conferences I have attened. Nor Ever Chaste would be welcome in the playwriting group, and would probably be praised/criticized respectfully but honestly. Nor Ever Chaste possibly would not be welcome in some secular conferences but might be overly praised in many Christian conferences.
This conference is somewhat costly [see website] but is worth it. In addition, a Glen East conference began this year at Mt Holyoke College in Massachusetts. I will continue to attend Santa Fe because I have relatives there. But, the nearer meeting in South Hadley, I’m confident, is equally valuable to artists of numerous disciplines.
There is a question that is common at most conferences I don’t remember hearing at the Glen Conferences. It is: “are you published.” The tenor of the Glen is ’way beyond just being published. It is clearly focused on an artist’s craft as opposed to his or her “getting off the ground.” The Conference doesn’t directly consider the first steps that many conferences do. For those that are considering writing as an avocation or even a career The Glen may not be the right experience. For those who have been writing for years, or study/teach it in a place of learning, The Glen has a refreshing and mature focus.
For more info, write me at john dot alexanderson dot ja at gmail dot com.