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Farming the Arts: A Poetry Workshop

with Paul Hunter

Date: March 17-18, 2012

Time: 10-3 pm each day

Location: Harmony Fields, Bow, WA

Click here to register

Two-day workshop will include discussion,

writing exercises, group reading and sharing.

Poetry Workshop Description: For centuries in the written arts, farming has been misunderstood, mis-measured and dismissed. Since the Romantic period at the turn of the 19th century, Nature has mostly been viewed as remote wilds, picturesque regions and creatures untouched by man. To this day the National Parks mostly hold up this idea of nature as if it were a museum, where one keeps to the trail and avoids trampling the wildflowers. This vision of Nature as pure wilds is balance by a vision of agriculture as a vast, mechanized, inevitable region of pure control, where there is no interface between competing organisms and views of what constitutes life. Farming as outdoor factory.

Since the Middle Ages in Europe there has also been a parallel pastoral ideal, which images the shepherd and flock in an idyllic world of total harmony, where the human has the leisure for music and innocent sensual play, where the competing needs of the rest of nature never intrude.

I would like to lay out these assumptions and lead to a discussion concerning a new kind of farming art more conscious of its real relationships with nature, where the easy images are seen for what they are-sentimental, romantic and ultimately false. Where the writer can find new ways of measuring the world they portray, where effort and intent are valued, and where the essence of life spent working in the open with other lives, with the end of growing food, is given its aesthetic due.

About Paul: Paul has lent a hand where it was needed-whether as a teacher, performer, grassroots arts activist, worker on the land, or shade-tree mechanic. For the past 14 years he has published fine letterpress poetry under the imprint of Wood Works, currently including 26 books and 65 booksides.  All

His poems have appeared in Alaska Fisherman’s JournalBeloit Poetry JournalBloomsbury ReviewIowa ReviewNorth American ReviewPoetryPoetry NorthwestPrairie SchoonerRaven ChroniclesThe Small Farmer’s JournalThe Southern Review and Spoon River Poetry Review, as well as in five full-length books and three chapbooks.

His first collection of farming poems, Breaking Ground, 2004, from Silverfish Review Press, was reviewed in the New York Times, the Home News Tribune, the Small Farmer’s Journal, the Raven Chronicles, and was a recipient of the 2004 Washington State Book Award. A second volume of farming poems, Ripening, was published in 2007, and a third companion volume, Come the Harvest, appeared in 2008.

He was recently a featured poet on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

*All images and material provided by Harmony Fields ~This is not an FIWG event. We advertise this for the purpose of promoting the arts in Skagit and Island counties. Any and all comments, questions or concerns must be addressed directly to Harmony Fields at hfproduce AT gmail DOT com.