Literary Hook: Upcoming area literary events and workshops

The Rock River Times announces literary events and workshops by two of its staff members. Jason Carson Wilson’s 61-page collection of poetry, Power of the Pen: Poems and Pontifications (PublishAmerica), will debut in Rockford at 7 p.m., Aug. 18, at Barnes & Noble. A reading and book signing will be held. Jason says of his writing: “Words just spilled on the page.” The collection offers poems with wide appeal, including Jason’s take on substitute teachers and “the press.”

Jason describes his life and writing process in the following way:

“I’m a 30-year-old African-American male, who is the eldest of three children. I was raised from age 12 by my white great-grandmother. A fifth-grade project sparked my interest in newspapering. It led me to interview bluegrass singer Alison Krauss and the Rev. Jesse Jackson during my time as a high school reporter. Those experiences eventually led me to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Communications, where I finally felt a real sense of community.”

Jason’s observations come from an interesting and provocative lens, examining gender issues or visiting a brother in rehab— experiences that spawned poems such as “Brothers,” “The Talk,” “Coming Out Into the Light” and “Someone’s There for Me.” Wilson says he has “attempted to appeal to everyone.”

Besides the Barnes & Noble reading, the book is available online at ,,, and I am very excited for Jason and wish him the best of luck!

I am also very excited about a writing workshop that I want you to know about. If you have ever been to Door County, you know how beautiful the sunsets over Green Bay can be. Perhaps you know of a folk school called The Clearing, in Ellison Bay. Located on acres of wildflowers on a huge bluff overlooking Green Bay, The Clearing offers a myriad of classes.

Here is a two-day workshop that I want you to know about. The two-day workshops do not require staying at The Clearing, which gives you more privacy and flexibility to do your own thing after hours. It provides a lunch and magnificent setting in which to work and reflect on your art. If you have never gone, you owe it to yourself! The location is the Jens Jenson Center at The Clearing. I will be teaching this class and would love to see you there. To register or learn more, call 920-854-4088.

In The Wild Braid: Conversations and Writing on the Act of Cultivating, Stanley Kunitz begins with the question, “Why is the act of cultivating so compelling?” This workshop, set for 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sept. 8-9, focuses on using this book, which includes a conversation between the poet and Genine Lentine, to reflect on various themes presented in the discourse, memoir and poetry in this collection: Turning the Soil; Woods, Fields, Farms; A Living Poem; The Web of Creation; Renewal. The class will continue the conversation, savoring the memoirs and poems of Stanley Kunitz, and enjoying the photographs of Marnie Crawford Samuelson.

You will explore the garden with its mighty and ordinary metaphors for living, examine your own relationship with nature, walk, explore, reflect and write—gleaning inspiration from the book. Writers may also wish to use other media, such as photography or drawing. Reading, conversing, writing, walking, and sharing memoirs, field notes, journals, and poetry will be formally incorporated into the workshop. The workshop is an opportunity for writers, poets, gardeners, nature lovers and artists to converge and come away with a sense of renewal and satisfaction, as well as experiencing the beautiful work and insights of Stanley Kunitz, who died this year at the age of 100. More than anything, he embodied the true soul of the poet—gentle yet deep.

From the Aug. 9-15, 2006, issue

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