Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The National Museum of Wildlife Art is raffling a 2009 MINI Cooper, valued at $20,000, at a price of $25 for a single ticket, or five for $100. Proceeds from the raffle will go toward supporting museum programs. Appropriately, the winner of the mini-vehicle will be drawn and announced on Friday, September 18, 2009 during the Western Visions and Miniatures Show. Ticket holders need not be present to win.
“We learned of other museums doing similar promotions to raise money for programming,” says Zeenie Scholz, Director of Marketing for the National Museum of Wildlife Art. “We thought it would be a fun way to involve the community in a fundraiser for the museum – and tying the MINI to our popular annual miniatures show was too good to pass up.”
Information about the raffle can be found on the museum’s website, www.wildlifeart.org. Tickets may be purchased at the museum or by telephone, contact Jennifer Lee at 307-732-5412.
A member of Museums West and accredited by the American Association of Museums, the National Museum of Wildlife Art offers an exciting calendar of exhibitions from its permanent collection and changing exhibitions from around the globe and has been featured in media including the L.A. Times and The New York Times. A complete schedule of exhibitions and events is available online at www.wildlifeart.org.
Media Contacts: Darla Worden, WordenGroup Strategic Public Relations, 307.734.5335, email@example.com; Zeenie Scholz, National Museum of Wildlife Art, 307.732.5437, firstname.lastname@example.org
The exhibit, titled, “Molesworth: Selections from the Permanent Collection,” features 28 pieces of 1930s era furniture designed by Thomas Canada Molesworth. The pieces in the exhibit are from the historic Ranch A located near Beulah in northeastern Wyoming. Three of the pieces were commissioned by former Governor Milward Simpson for his study in the Historic Governors’ Mansion.
Molesworth owned and operated the Shoshone Furniture Company from 1931 to 1961 in Cody.
In 1933, Pennsylvania publishing magnate Moses Annenberg commissioned him to furnish his large retreat Ranch A near Beulah.
Over the span of thirty years, Molesworth created hundreds, perhaps even thousands of pieces of rustic western furniture for local ranches, eastern plantations and hotels throughout Wyoming and Montana, including the TE Ranch, Eisenhower's den and the Rockefeller Ranch.
It is said that Molesworth single-handedly popularized “cowboy furniture,” or the Western style of furniture design. Molesworth’s style combines simplicity and comfort with humor and romance. He was always aware of the entire room and became well known for creating “roomscapes” full of Western and Indian motifs.
The Wyoming State Museum is located in the Barrett Building, 2301 Central Avenue in Cheyenne.
Teton County Public Library hosts large-format photographer Gary Ladd for a slideshow talk "Forty Years of Exploring and Photographing the Grand Canyon" on Thursday, July 9 at 7 p.m. in the library's Ordway Auditorium in Jackson. The program is free and open to the community with support from donations, large and small, to the Teton County Library Foundation.
Ladd specializes in photographing the wilderness interior of the Grand Canyon, the pristine sandstone landscapes surrounding Lake Powell, and the slick rock terrains of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. His photos are included in the library's current exhibition "Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography" from the Smithsonian's traveling program. The
exhibition is on view at the library through Thursday, July 16.
National magazines such as "Life," "Newsweek," "National Geographic Adventure" and many more have published and showcased Ladd's photographs. Ladd has contributed to numerous book projects including "Grand Canyon, Time Below the Rim," "Canyon Light," and "Along the Rim," winning awards for several of the publications.
His most recent book project, "Grand Canyon, Views Beyond the Beauty," was published in July 2008 by Grand Canyon Association. He is currently at work on a self-published booklet guide to Grand Canyon geology (available in the summer of 2009) and a new Lake Powell book with Arizona Highways (scheduled for release in the spring of 2010).
Ladd has lived in Page, Arizona, along the Colorado River (just upstream from Grand Canyon, just downstream from Lake Powell) for 28 years. He is a Museum of Northern Arizona Ventures trip leader, former Sierra Club wilderness backpack trip leader, Arizona Highways photo workshop instructor,Grand Circle Field School and Grand Canyon Field Institute instructor and
Elderhostel geology/photography instructor.
You can view one of Ladd's photos from the Smithsonian's "Lasting Light" exhibition at http://tiny.cc/TYpJ7.
FMI: Education and Program Manager Dimmie Zeigler, 733-2164 ext. 229. Visit the library online at www.TCLib.org.
"A Random Census of Souls" is a collection of prose poems by the Sheridan author and a 2000 Wyoming Arts Council creative writing fellowship winner. It's published by Daniel & Daniel Publishers, P.O. Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519. ISBN 978-156474-478-42009, $14. FMI: http://www.danielpublishing.com/bro/western.html
Sam's in fine company on the mag's June review pages. Other featured authors are David Ray, the late Agha Shahid Ali, Allison Hedge Coke and the late Larry Levis.
Read the entire review at
Here's a sample:
These poems have much to teach us about a life fast disappearing, with their images of baling contractors and spring plowing and planting. In “Feeding the Bears,” lines about planting and composting give way to lines about development: “Any ground good for growing pumpkins is good for growing houses.” A sense of loss is never far away. Several of these poems plant themselves firmly in the past, with specific years as part of their titles (“Garrison Project, North Dakota, 1951,” “Hot Springs, 1955,” and “Inland Nova Scotia, August 1905”).
I particularly love the poems that make me think about something in a way I hadn’t thought about it before. “The Confessions of Quarries” reminds us of how much deep water can hide. “Easter Noir” has intriguing ideas of redemption and spring. “Act of Faith” uses meteorological images to describe a child’s tantrum. “Drinking Townsend’s Solitaire” presents a story of a creek which hears all of the forest’s songs, the creek as “hymnal of the woods,” on its journey to the sea, a journey disrupted by development.
CARVE: An Anthology of Ski and Snowboard poems, stories, and essays, is open for submissions. Reprints okay as long as the author retains the rights. Deadline: January 5. Please send work (as an MS Word attachment), along with a short bio, to Suzanne Roberts at email@example.com.
The University of Wyoming's Snowy Range Summer Theatre and Dance Festival continues July 7-11 with "The Last Five Years," which chronicles the bittersweet love story of Jamie and Cathy.
Directed by UW Professor Leigh Selting, "The Last Five Years" will run nightly at 7:30 in the Fine Arts Center studio theatre in Laramie. Tickets cost $10 for the public, $8 for senior citizens and $5 for students. For tickets and information, call (307) 766-6666 or go to the Web site at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
"The Last Five Years" stars recent UW Department of Theatre and Dance graduates Chris Will and Claudine Mboligikpelani. Will plays the role of Jamie, an ambitious young writer, and Mboligikpelani plays Cathy, an aspiring actress. The two characters fall in love and get married before their relationship falls apart over the next five years.
"I'm pleased to be able to present a musical this summer, especially one with this sort of innovative structure," Selting says. "What really attracted me to the show was the idea that we see two people moving through time from different starting points. It allows audiences to know both the end and the beginning of the story. What drives the piece is the journey of these two people as they fall into and out of love."
The festival, established in 2005 as an outgrowth of UW's longstanding summer theatre program and its annual dance festival, continues throughout the summer with one additional play and three dance concerts.
Photo: Claudine Mboligikpelani plays Cathy, an aspiring actress, in "The Last Five Years."
Karol is a 2000 recipient of a Wyoming Arts Council Frank Nelson Doubleday memorial writing award.
FMI: 307.634.3561 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, June 29, 2009
July 1 Lander City Park 6:00 pm
July 3 Pinedale American Legion Park 6:00 pm
July 8 Lander City Park 6:00 pm
July 11 Cheyenne Botanic Garden 4:30 pm
July 15 Lander City Park 6:00 pm
July 17 Rock Springs Bunning Park 6:00 pm
July 18 Green River Stratton Meyers Park 6:00 pm
July 21 Riverton Honor Farm 6:00 pm
July 23 Gillette College 6:00 pm
July 24 Casper Nicolaysen Museum 7:00 pm
July 29 Lander City Park 6:00 pm
July 30 Dubois Dennison Museum 6:00 pm
Three weeks of free activities for students between the ages of 4 and 11 will be offered at the University of Wyoming Art Museum this July through the Paint Pony Express program. Paint Pony Express takes place Tuesday through Thursday, July 7-23. Children ages 4-5 meet Tuesdays, ages 6-8 meet Wednesdays, and classes on Thursdays are for ages 9-11.
Students will explore original art work from the Peter W. Doss Crow Indian Collection with Penny Isaac, daughter and tribal member, July 7, 8 and 9. They will meet artist-rancher Tracy Linder the week of July 14, 15 and 16 and investigate her sculpture, Tractor Hides, which are molded from the treads of tractor tires. July 22, 23 and 24 students will consider the work of weaver Lia Cook, who transforms childhood images into large-scale weavings.
Under the guidance of the Art Museum ’s teachers, students will then create their own work using writing, movement or performance and visual art/sculptural methods to convey their own artistic response and vision. Parents are asked to stay with children under the age of six. For additional information call the UW Art Museum at (307) 766-6622 or visit http://www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum
"Imagine learning from the masters" is a guiding principle of the UW Art Museum’s programs. The museum is located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Dr. in Laramie. The museum and Museum Store are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
As many as 34 Wyoming cultural and heritage projects and sponsoring organizations will benefit from more than $512,000 in grant awards from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund (WCTF).
The grant awards, approved by the five-member Cultural Trust Fund board at a recent meeting in Cheyenne, came from 58 total applications representing 23 communities in 16 counties. The requests totaled more than $1.3 million, with requests capped at a maximum of $50,000.
These requests were for a variety of projects including historic preservation, construction of new cultural facilities, outreach programming, arts education programs, cultural celebrations, staff and infrastructure development, and endowment campaigns.
In 1988, the Wyoming Legislature, recognizing that Wyoming and its people possess a unique cultural heritage, created the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund Act. The mission of the WCTF board is to serve the citizens of Wyoming by supporting the state’s cultural heritage through grant funding of innovative projects for the enjoyment, appreciation, promotion, preservation and protection of the arts and cultural historic resources.
For more information about the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, please contact Renee Bovee, administrator, at 307-777-6312.
This round grant awards were presented to:
CallAir Foundation, Afton, CallAir A-9 Flying Model Exhibit, $5,000
Casper College, Casper, A Trilogy of Music/Theatre Productions, $15,000
Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, Casper, Development Infrastructure Plan, $10,000
Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, Artecoop: Elements of Power – The Aesthetics of the New Energy Economy Exhibit, $30,000
ARTCORE, Inc., Casper, Outreach Programming, $20,000
Wyoming State Archives, Cheyenne, Wyoming Oral History Project, $5,000
Cheyenne Arts Council, Cheyenne, Building Capacity: Promotion and Collaboration Project, 17,760
Discover Cheyenne, Cheyenne, 2009 Mountain-Plains Museum Association Conference, $10,000
The Wyoming Center for the Book, Cheyenne, Wyoming Book Festival, $5,000
Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, Cheyenne, Expansion Plan, $10,000
Cheyenne Depot Museum/SEWIPA, Cheyenne, American Indian Heritage Day, $11,500
Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Endowment Campaign for the Academy of Popular Arts, $25,000
Young Musicians, Evanston, Website Development and Equipment Purchase, $7,000
Sweetwater County Historical Museum, Green River, “The Letters of a Woman Homesteader” Radio Production, $11,225
Green River Historic Preservation Commission, Green River, Data Recovery Associated with Green River Expansion Project, $5,000
Off-Square Theatre Company, Jackson, “Petticoat Rules” Musical Production/Touring, $15,000
Dancers’ Workshop, Jackson, Outreach Program and CDW Tour, $15,000
Art Association of Jackson, Jackson, Outreach Programs, $20,000
Jackson Hole Writers’ Conference, Jackson, Development Director, $12,000
Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, Jackson, Collections Conservation
Equipment and Training, $6,454
pARTners, Jackson, Integrated Arts Curriculum, $20,000
Vista 360 Degrees, Jackson, Traditional Craft of Western Wyoming: A Cultural Conservation Project, $21,250
City of Kemmerer (South Lincoln Training and Event Center), Kemmerer, Endowment Campaign, $30,000
Wind River Development Fund, Lander, Native Emerging Artists Training and Exhibition, $10,000
Lander Art Center, Lander, Infrastructure Building Plan, $14,781
Laramie Railroad Depot Association, Laramie, Laramie Railroad Depot Re-Roof Project, $10,000
Laramie Railroad Depot Association, Laramie, Railroad Heritage Park, Phase 1, $13,300
Ark Industries and Rehabilitation Center Memorial Foundation, Laramie, Endowment Campaign for the Creative Arts Center, $25,000
Meeteetse Museum District, Meeteetse, Preservation and Restoration of the Historic Bank Building, $25,000
The Bauen Camp, Parkman, Tongue River Valley Arts Collaboration Project, $10,000
Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation, Powell, Interpretive Learning Center Exhibit Planning and Design, $25,000
Carbon County Museum Foundation, Rawlins, Oral History Project and Professional Development, $6,743
The WYO Theater, Inc., Sheridan, Phase I: Access to New Space, $20,000
Washakie Museum and Cultural Center, Worland, Exhibition Equipment and Fixtures, $25,000
new connections Jennie and I are finding every time we work together between our work. "
http://www.valhallarts.com/, and it is also on YouTube.
United We Serve is a nationwide service initiative that kicks off on June 22, 2009. Led by the White House and coordinated by the Corporation for National and Community Service, United We Serve asks organizations across America to engage new volunteers in their work and encourages individuals to volunteer and develop community service projects with friends, family, and neighbors.
After an initial 81 days – June 22 to September 11 – the president hopes that the initiative will grow into a sustained, collaborative effort to promote service as a way of life for all Americans. More information about the initiative is available at http://www.Serve.gov.
By participating in United We Serve, artists and arts organizations can demonstrate the unique and vital contributions the arts make to every aspect of community life. Volunteer efforts may be centered on cultural activities or on those relating to one of United We Serve’s areas of focus: education; health; energy and the environment; and community renewal. In addition to the inherent benefits of volunteerism, either by engaging volunteers or serving as volunteers, artists and arts organizations can strengthen their community ties and make the arts more visible in local recovery efforts.
How to Participate:
- Post a call for volunteers. Invite members of the community to get involved with your organization and its programs. Go to Serve.gov and register your organization and your project(s) in the All for Good database, a national hub of volunteer opportunity listings. Record numbers of volunteers are expected to seek service opportunities this summer, so be sure to capitalize on this momentum.
- Become a volunteer. Contribute your time to a volunteer project taking place in your community – and identify yourself as an artist when you do! Search Serve.gov and All for Good for nearby opportunities.
- Create your own project. Consult the on-line toolkit for tips on how to design local service efforts that make a difference. The best practices profiled there can maximize the impact of any community arts or cultural engagement initiative.
- Share your story. Make the arts a visible part of America’s service movement by sharing your story on-line. Describe how you have engaged volunteers for arts projects and how those projects have transformed lives, galvanized community action or assisted populations in need. Include pictures for maximum appeal. A wealth of stories is being posted on the White House Delivering Change map.
- Promote your participation. A sample press release is available to help you get started.
Additional materials about United We Serve are available on-line, including a video announcement by President Obama, answers to Frequently Asked Questions and a Media Advisory Guide. National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, 1029 Vermont Avenue NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005, 202-347-6352, http://www.nasaa-arts.org/
Friday, June 26, 2009
"We are delighted to present an exhibition of nearly all of the ‘Big Baby’ portraits by Lia Cook; works that reach 16-ft in height," says museum director Susan Moldenhauer. "Cook is an inventor of new weaving constructs that incorporate photographic imagery with digital loom technology."
"Imagine learning from the masters" is a guiding principle of the UW Art Museum’s programs. The museum is located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Dr. in Laramie. The museum and Museum Store are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Mark "Fish" Fishman returns as MC introducing first-up Jackson Hole Community Band, followed by Thirsty, a local school rock band, then Petticoat Rules, an original production of Off Square Theatre, written by Pam Drews Phillips and Mary Murffit, then the Latin jazz grooves of Brasiliana with Keith Phillips and friends, and last, the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra featuring the return of soprano Christine Brewer with guest conductor Thomas Wilkins.
There will be a host of food concessionaires, a food drive to benefit the local food cupboard, and for the family, the Community Foundation of Jackson's Old Bill's Fun Run Kick-Off
This event is scheduled for July 26, 2009 at City Park in Lander, Wyoming, starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at 10 p.m. Lander Riverfest will offer a full day of live music, local food and spirits as well as 50 booths for artists to show and sell their art to the community. They are ooking for unique and creative arts/wares for this show. To enter the show, please send pictures and a cover letter summarizing your art for review to:
email@example.com. All work submitted must be made and sold by entering artist.
Booth spaces are 10X10 and rent at $40 each (a maximum of two units per artist). Entrants provide their own tables and displays (tents are available at Lander Chamber of Commerce/Baldwin Creek Rentals).
Make payments to:
Lander Art Center
224 Main Street
Lander, WY 82520
Fees are due by 11 July, 2009. Cancellations after 18 July, 2009 will not be refunded. Don't miss the opportunity to participate in this exciting, new event. And, if you haven't already, join the vibrant Lander arts community by becoming a member of the Lander Art Center.
Director, Lander Art Center
Dashboard Hulas, Art-in-the Afternon
FMI call (307)332-5772
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
All of you interested in the arts may know of Ovation TV. It uses a lot of user-generated content, has discussions of arts and tries to connect people active in the arts. If like what you see at their website you might let others know about this channel and encourage your local cable provider to add it.
The gallery is located at 30 Big Red Lane, in Ucross, Wyoming, 1/2 mile east of the intersection of highways 14 and 16.
Besaw, who wrote the essay for the Ucross exhibition, The Full Terrain: Paintings by Karen Kitchel and Don Stinson, says of their work: "Through beautifully rendered paintings, they address issues, raise questions, and make statements about contemporary life….Kitchel and Stinson answer my plea for meaningful and beautiful paintings. Each artist is engaged in a constant dialogue with the past….The artists play off tradition to address change."
Edre Maier, Executive Director of the Sheridan Heritage Center, notes, "We hope this is just the first of many public events at the Sheridan Inn to be hosted by the Ucross Foundation, inspired by artists connected to Ucross."
Karen Kitchel's work has been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the U.S., and is in many private and corporate collections, including the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Pomona College Art Museum, the U.S. State Department, the Children's Hospital in Denver, and the New York City headquarters of Pfizer, Inc. In 2009 her paintings will be on view at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada, and the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles, California. Kitchel graduated from Kalamazoo College, and received an MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 1982. After several years of living and painting in the Rocky Mountain towns of Billings, Montana, and Denver, Colorado, she has returned to southern California, where she is a full-time artist, working in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains on the northern edge of Los Angeles.
Don Stinson received his BFA from Colorado State University and his MFA from Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He has been a recipient of a Colorado Council on the Arts Director's Grant and his work is in the collections of the Denver Art Museum and the Art in the Embassies Program in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He has been featured extensively in group and solo exhibitions in Colorado and Texas with prominent showings at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming, and Artist Space, New York. He lives and works in Evergreen, Colorado.
The Summer Exhibition Reception will take place at the National Museum of Wildlife Art on July 9. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with lectures to begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free for members or with museum admission.
The McCloy family holds one of the most significant collections of contemporary wildlife art in the nation, including multiple paintings by Robert Kuhn, Ken Carlson and Tucker Smith. Wood will offer insight on the collection, subject of the just-released book Patrons Without Peer - The McCloy Collection. To coincide with the book's publication, 31 pieces from the collection are on display at the museum through September 11 in "Patrons Without Peer: Selections from the McCloy Collection," offering a rare chance to view masterworks never before publicly exhibited together.
Original artwork created for The Lorax, Dr. Seuss's cautionary tale of greed and consumerism wreaking environmental devastation, is on display at the museum through September 7 in "The Lorax: Original Illustrations by Dr. Seuss." Dr. Nel, Professor of English and Director of the Program in Children's Literature at Kansas State University and author of two books about Seuss, will speak to Seuss's political message in " 'A Person's a Person:' The Politics of Dr. Seuss."
A complete schedule of exhibitions and events are available online at http://www.wildlifeart.org/
(editor's note: Tucker Smith was a Governor's Arts Award winner for 2007)
Organizations are given the funds to establish readings, discussions, and other forums for their respective communities to celebrate one of thirty novels selected by the NEA for the Big Read. Some of the recent grantees have elected to read titles such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Willa Cather’s My Ántonia, and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, while others have chosen to focus on several works by specific writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson. In addition to grant money, the Big Read will provide each community with reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, and an audio recording of an established author or other public figure reading the selected work.
This fall, the NEA will also debut on the Big Read web site four short films about authors of titles selected for the program. Video profiles of Rudolfo Anaya, Ernest J. Gaines, Cynthia Ozick, and Tobias Wolff will "offer intimate portraits of each author, including their writing philosophies, work spaces, and favorite books," according to an NEA press release.
Several Wyoming organizations have received Big Read grants in past years. None are listed in this round. For complete list, go to http://www.arts.gov/national/bigread/press/bigread2010list.php?sortby=state
Shane has been teaching at Green River four years. Shane is also a painter and mixed media artist -- one of his pieces was chosen for the Governor's Capitol Art Exhibition show this year. He conducts open studio evenings at the high school throughout the school year, which take place after school hours. Art teachers who took the class could earn PTSB credit.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Matthew Irwin, writing in today's issue of Planet Jackson Hole, surveys the local arts scene and finds some intriguing trends:
Jackson Hole, Wyo. -- If you talk to local arts organizations about how they’re getting through the down economy, they’ll probably tell you that though the bad economy has caused them to roll back programming, it has provided some needed course correction.
Whereas the almighty tourist dollar continues to be a focus of marketing efforts, arts orgs have decided to draw more on local talent and provide more community-oriented experiences.
This redirection could represent a sea of change in the local arts scene, not only in the way organizations plan programming, but also in the willingness of residents to support the arts in an official capacity, say, through language in the Comprehensive Plan update.
Though this idea certainly has skeptics in Jackson Hole, the reported influx of volunteers, who also happen to be patrons or workshop students or event attendees, say otherwise.
WAC Manager Rita Basom was interviewed for the article, as were WAC roster artist Macey Mott (of Riot Act, Inc.) and a number of our grantees, such as the Art Association.
To read the entire article, go to http://www.planetjh.com/news/A_105133.aspx
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Here's a story about the event from the Marine Corps News via Military.com:
ABOARD USS NASHVILLE — Service members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Army, along with various Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville international maritime professionals, filled the USS Nashville (LPD 13) mess decks for ‘Nashville Idol,’ a Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)-sponsored talent show.
The event gave the crew a chance to come together for some fun while showcasing their talents. A majority of participants sang or played an instrument, while others danced or performed comedy skits.
The first-place winner was Cpl. Sean Castaneda, advisor, Marine Advisor Team (MAT), with second and third place going to Machinist’s Mate Fireman Stephen C. Ball and Culinary Specialist Seaman Andre Smith, respectively.
These contestants may have been the top contenders, but they were just as nervous as everyone else to go up and perform in front of their comrades.
“It was really nerve wracking,” said Castaneda, a Cheyenne, Wyo., native. “I only had an hour to prepare and I had never played guitar and sang at the same time in front of a crowd.”
Many others overcame their fear as well and surprised the crowd with a variety of talents. According to Ball, the crowd was very encouraging and enthusiastic.
“I think the turnout and participation was good,” said Ball, a Rockville, Ind., native. “It was awesome. People were really getting into it, laughing, having a good time cheering and holding up signs. It made it a lot of fun to be in and to be around.”
“It was a great time,” said SSgt. Lenny Lindsay II, advisor, MAT, APS Nashville, and Nashville Idol judge. “I thought it was a good morale booster, and I think other ships should do it as well.”
Nashville is currently deployed in support of APS, an international initiative under the auspices of Naval Forces Africa which aims to work cooperatively with U. S., European and African partners to enhance maritime safety and security on the African continent.
We are excited to announce that the Literary Connection will return Oct. 2-3.
Our three guest authors for this year are Pam Houston, author of the best seller "Cowboys Are My Weakness"; Colorado native and "Sky Bridge" author Laura Pritchett; and fiction writer and essayist Bill Roorbach from Massachusetts. This year, we are introducing our morning workshop session on Friday with our three guest authors. They will each talk about the skills of writing, the process of literary development and more. On Saturday, we will reintroduce our authors as they present a guest lecture, again taking time to answer your questions and sign copies of their books.
Please visit our guest authors' websites for more information:
We hope you will join us! Click here to register online.
Editor's Note: Wyomingarts is happy to see the return of Laura Pritchett to Wyoming after a brief hiatus. She was in Casper last October to read with the three WAC creative writing fellowship recipients she selected during the competition. She also conducted a writing workshop -- a great teacher. Bill Roorabach has been a presenter at the Casper College Literary Conference and also served as a judge for the WAC Blanchan/Doubleday writing awards. Pam Houston has never been a judge for the fellowships -- an oversight on our part. But she has been to the Cowboy State to teach workshops, read her work around the campfire, and conduct research for "Cowboys are My Weakness."
The University of Wyoming's Snowy Range Summer Theatre and Dance Festival continues June 23-27 with "The Underpants," the hilarious adaptation of a turn-of-the-century German farce.
Directed by John O'Hagan, "The Underpants" will run nightly at 7:30 inside the Fine Arts Center studio theatre. Tickets cost $10 for the public, $8 for senior citizens and $5 for students. For tickets and information, call (307) 766-6666 or go to the Web site at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
Adapted by the incomparable Steve Martin, the Emmy- and Grammy-award-winning funnyman, "The Underpants" tells the story of a stuffy, puritanical bureaucrat, Theo, who is horrified when his delectable young wife, Louise, accidentally drops her unmentionables to her ankles during a parade for the king.
The unfortunate gaffe turns Louise into an instant celebrity, earning her many determined new admirers.
"Most farce deals with what happens when we get caught with ‘our pants around our ankles,' and this piece almost literally takes us there," O'Hagan says. "It's a wonderful mix of Steve Martin's intelligent and sometimes absurd wit and his goofy, wild and crazy side."
The festival, established in 2005 as an outgrowth of UW's longstanding summer theatre program and its annual dance festival, continues throughout the summer with three additional plays and three dance concerts.
"New Beginnings" means that "art has the power to be reflective, to comfort, and to inspire; qualities much needed in the current state of our world. In that spirit, artists have been asked to create works based on the concept, New Beginnings."
Work from these artists will be featured: Michael Calles, Kim Casebeer, Mary Ann Cherry, Kate Ferguson, Gaylene Fortner, Jim Gilmore, Judy Hartke, Jennifer L. Hoffman, Dinah Jasensky, Pat Jeffers, Bonnie Latham, Karen Latham, Rebecca Latham, D. Lee, Karol Mack, Lori McNee, Erin C. O'Connor, Marilyn Paine, John Potter, Marilyn Salomon, Debbie Edgers Sturges, Hubert Wackermann, and Bart Walker.
Monday, June 15, 2009
On Friday, June 26, wet your whistle with cocktails at 6 p.m. Chuck Wagon dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Dinner includes: Flat-iron steak cooked on an open-air grill, Bit-O-Wyo baked beans, baked potato, homemade applesauce, rolls, dessert, drink. Tickets are $50 each. Reserved table for 5 (plus 5 tickets to the 2009 Melodrama) is $300.
Net proceeds from each ticket benefit Cheyenne Little Theatre Players.
This is a family friendly show! Seating is limited, so make your reservations now at 307-638-6543.
1. Castle Gardens: Daniel R. Lemon, Casper, WY
2. Rip Rap: Jerry Sanders, Buffalo, WY
3. Sold: L. G. Vernon, Cheyenne, WY
1st Honorable Mention. Anniversary Blues: Helena Linn, Big Piney, WY
2nd Honorable Mention. All In Good Time: Helena Linn
Special Honorable Mention. Signs: Lynn G. Carlson, Cheyenne, WY for a 99 word entry that was complete in every way.
1. A Female Mark Twain: Roxie Olmstead, Sheridan, WY
2. Time to Exalt The Lonely Toothbrush: Roxie Olmstead
3. Tooth Talk: Cynthia Bower, Casper, WY
1st Honorable Mention: The Little People: Habitats on the Moon, by Mary Beth Baptiste, Laramie
2nd Honorable Mention: Making Hay: Mary Beth Baptiste, Laramie, WY
1. Stuck in the Middle: Fred Savage, Rawlins, WY
2. The Rabbit in the Moon: Cynthia Bower, Casper
3. The New Baby: Zoe Kalber, Big Piney, WY
1st Honorable Mention: Is He Really Santa? Roxie Olmstead, Sheridan, WY
2nd Honorable Mention: Snapper: Jerry Sanders, Buffalo, WY
1. Toby and Aunt Leah: Pat Forbis, Modesta, CA
2. That One Kid, Bruce: Fred Savage, Rawlins, WY
3. It’s Not Me, It’s You: Jonny Clinton, Sheridan, WY
1st Honorable Mention. Live! Monster Truck (and Motocross), a Letter: Phyllis Dugan, Thayne, WY
2nd Honorable Mention. Dancing With the Muse: Lynn G. Carlson, Cheyenne, WY
1. Choosing the Good Parts… Ann Hoffmann Harris, Lander, WY
2. Leave Our Flag Alone: Michele Sherwood, Green River, WY
3. The History of a Small Place: Ann Hoffmann Harris
1st Honorable Mention. Does It Matter If God Exists: Cherie (CJ) Clark, Hardy, Ark.
2nd Honorable Mention. Nothin’ But My Spurs On: Sharon Salisbury O’Toole, Savery, WY
Free Verse Poetry:
1. Interdisciplinarian: Mary Kate McCarney, Casper, WY
2. Pending Migration: Meaghan #-L Elliott, Brighten, MI
3. Everyday Depravity: Mary Kate McCarney
1st Honorable Mention. Codge’n Sara’s Mercantile: Carol L. Deering, Riverton, WY
2nd Honorable Mention. Renascence: Bob Cherry, Cody, WY
1. The Near Death Windmill: Linda G. Vernon, Cheyenne, WY
2. Haunted: Vickie Goodwin, Douglas, WY
3. Mrs. America Candidate: Roxie Olmstead, Sheridan, WY
1st Honorable Mention. The Fandango Tango: Cherie (CUJ) Clark, Hardy, Ark.
2nd Honorable Mention. The Naked Bumper: Roxie Olmstead, Sheridan, WY
1. Teton-Two-Step: Mary Beth Baptiste Laramie, WY
2. The Upper Limits of Normal:David R.Shlim, M.D. Kelly, WY
3. Wrong Number?: Cynthia Bower, Casper, WY
1st Honorable Mention: Logged Out: Barbara Jo Guilford, Cheyenne, WY
2nd Honorable Mention: Wellspring: an excerpt Sharon Salisbury O’Toole
1. The Inspector of Snow and Rain: Ann Hoffman Harris, Lander, WY
2. Dead Man, Talking: L. G. Vernon, Cheyenne, WY
3. On the Little Crazy: Steven R. Laird, Buffalo, WY
1st Honorable Mention. Trapping Jessie: L. G. Vernon, Cheyenne, WY
2nd Honorable Mention. Blood Talks: Pat Stuart, Powell, WY
1. An Epitaph: Charles w. Popovich, Sheridan, WY
2. Earthbound: Sharon Salisbury O’Toole
3. Cruel Wilt: Lee Ann Siebken, Douglas, WY
1st Honorable Mention. To Be A Mountain: Wanda Sue Smith, Wapiti, WY
2nd Honorable Mention. Power of Suggestion: Kathy Bjornestad, Sundance, WY
Martin, S.D., rancher and poet Ken Cook, a finalist in previous competitions, was recognized as Lariat Laureate for his poem, "The Conversation."
The youngest of CowboyPoetry.com’s eight "8 Seconds" finalists is Cora Wood of Encampment.
Cora is seven years old. She is following in the footsteps of her parents. Her poem, "Chester," is about a horse she rides when working cows with her ranch manager father. Her mother is Western singer/songwriter Laurie Wood. Cora performs at events across the West. She writes songs and poems, and is also known for her yodeling, which is showcased in her new recording, Cora's Cowgirl Yodel.
Read Cora’s poem, and find out more about her, at http://www.cowboypoetry.com/winner.htm#Wood
The ILC will provide an overview of the wartime relocation of Japanese Americans, including the background history of Asian prejudice in America and the factors leading to the enforced confinement of West Coast Japanese Americans. Special emphasis will be given to constitutional issues, civil liberties and rights, diversity education and training and ethnic understanding. The Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center will also provide links and virtual connections to other historical sites, research centers, and collections dealing with related issues.
Historic events specific to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center will be the central focus of the ILC’s content. Camp life, internee responses to relocation, debates over military service and the draft, the relationships between the internees and their Wyoming neighbors, the camp’s contribution to the area’s agricultural economy, the sacrifices of Heart Mountain servicemen, and the postwar experience of the internees will all be brought to life in the Learning Center’s multi-media exhibits.
The Esther and John Clay Fine Arts Gallery at Laramie County Community College will host an exhibit by Cheyenne artist Eddie Marron, "Building Blocks on Silk: a clause for self-reflection" from June 26-August 14, 2009. The reception is June 26 at 4 p.m.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Register at the library beginning July 1.
Welling's two books of fiction are Cry Baby Ranch and Fairy Tale Blues. She's been on the faculty of the Jackson Hole writers conference for 15 years. Her workshops last weekend at the Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference in Casper were standing-room-only.
For more about Tina, go to http://www.tinawelling.com
The Pinedale Fine Arts Council is proud to present the second annual "Sound Check," an evening of free music on Saturday, June 27, at American Legion Park in Pinedale beginning at 5 p.m.
Opening this year’s Sound Check will be local singer/songwriter Terry Hill. Hill has played a number of Pinedale Fine Arts Council functions over the past three years and plays locally on a weekly basis. His 2007 album, "Paso Por Aqui," is arguably the finest record to come out of Sublette County.
The session will be conducted by Annie Hatch, WAC folk and traditional arts specialist, and Michael Shay, WAC individual artist specialist. They will discuss grant guidelines and offer tips on navigating the on-line application process.
All non-profit organizations, governmental entities (including schools) and individual artists are invited.
For more details, contact Michael Shay at 307-777-5234 or Annie Hatch at 307-777-7721. Find out more about all WAC grants and programs at the web site, http://wyoarts.state.wy.us
For information about library hours and location, call 307-527-1880 or go to http://parkcountylibrary.org/cody/
Introduction to Silk Painting, June 13-14 9-noon, members $40; cmty $50
Intermediate Silk Painting, July 11-12 9-noon, members $40; cmty $50
Handbuilding Section A, Aug 3-19 5:30-8:30 PM, members $120; cmty $150
Handbuilding Section B, Aug 4-20, 9-noon, members $120; cmty $150
In addition, there will be an Art Camp for Jr and Sr high aged students from July 6-10, 9AM to noon, members $120; cmty $150
For more information and registration forms, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 307-631-6039.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
FMI: Contact the Curator of Arts and Education, Kristen Ruck at mailto:email@example.com or telephone (307) 778-7289.
Michael had his big toe and part of his foot amputated due to a severe infection.
Here's part of an e-mail message he sent yesterday:
So far the healing thing seems to be going fairly well. They transferred me out of the hospital to a temporary home a few days ago. Here I'm getting daily antibiotic IV treatments and a nurse comes by to re-bandage the amputation site about every other day. The amputation wasn't too bad actually -- mainly the big toe on my right foot and some area behind it where an infection had entered bone. My doctor says he knows people who lost toes to frostbite while climbing Mount Everest, and afterward they went back and climbed it again. I'm not sure if that means I'm supposed to climb Mount Everest in the future.
Great to see that Michael's sense of humor is still intact.
He's not driving yet, but he has scheduled a performance on Celtic Harp at the Plains Hotel lobby in Cheyenne on Friday, June 26 at 6 p.m. It's sponsored by Phoenix Books. For info, contact Phoenix Books at 307-632-3476.
Get well soon, Michael
FMI: Jennifer Rife, LCLS Community & Media Relations Specialist, 307.773.7218
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Union Wireless Peppers on the Plaza, Cheyenne’s Chili Cook-Off will be held at the Cheyenne Depot on Saturday, June 13th and Sunday, June 14th.
This will be the International Chili Society’s (ICS) Wyoming State Championship and the Chili Appreciate Society International’s (CASI) Cook-Off. The Cheyenne Chili Cook-Off will have 20 cooking teams on Saturday and more than 35 cooking teams on Sunday. This will be one of Wyoming’s largest chili cook-offs ever held.
This event is being hosted by United Way of Laramie County, Cheyenne Depot Museum Foundation and the Cheyenne Depot Museum. Union Wireless is the sponsor. The City of Cheyenne, the Cheyenne Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Historic Plains Hotel are also supporting this event.
This family event will include free children’s activities and musical entertainment. Children’s activities will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The free entertainment will be on the Cheyenne Depot Plaza on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Saturday, Pride of Five will be performing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m; Seven Sundays will be performing from 1-3 p.m; Warwick Jones will be performing from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and our Saturday headliner -- Delta Sonics -- from 6-8 p.m.
On Sunday, Avenue will be on stage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m; followed by Allison Draw from 1-3 p.m. The event will conclude with Country Club from 3-5 p.m.
FMI: Cheyenne Depot Museum at 307-632-3905 or Pam@cheyennedepotmuseum.org.
I am writing to let you know that I'll be opening up an exhibit of photographic prints at Lander's Folklore Coffee House on June 21. There will be an evening reception from 7-9 p.m. Displayed work will be primarily themed on Wyoming's outdoors, wildlife and fly fishing. All displayed prints are limited-edition giclee on fine art paper; much of the framing has been done by Fremont Frameworks. All prints are available for sale.
Following is a brief bio/statement:
Russell Schnitzer is a award-winning photographer ranging throughout the West. Recent gallery shows have been in Denver and Kansas City, with awards received for both color and black-and-white images. Publication credits include ESPNOutdoors.com, TU.org, TROUT Magazine, Patagonia catalogs, Fly Fish America, Fly Rod & Reel, NewWest.net, and several conservation titles.
Schnitzer grew up in rural northern Minnesota, and has lived in Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Colorado. He now resides south of Lander. My primary photographic ambition is to communicate the power, passion and subtlety of natural landscapes, and life within those landscapes -- flowers, fish, wildlife and people. My images represent my values, and my personal relationship with the natural world. I enjoy sharing that connection with others, who, through their unique perspectives, deepen the value of an image's time and place. I shoot primarily with full-frame digital equipment, and do not digitally manipulate images. Having learned photography using film, I subscribe to the photographic principle that "one exposure equals one image."
FMI: Russ Schnitzer at http://schnitzerphoto.blogspot.com; 307-332-9656.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
As you may well know, many writers conferences have scaled back their programs or closed their doors entirely for 2009. And people like you are finding new ways to revel in your passions during eccentric economic times. Refocus on goals and dreams. Make every moment count.
That's also what we're doing at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, June 25-28. And that's why we are alive and well. This is our continued priority and our commitment to you. We promise you an unforgettable 2009.
Thank you to those who have already registered. We invite the rest of you to look more closely at what we have to offer. See if we're a fit.
The conference remains intimate yet powerful after 17 years. The setting, in the backyard of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, adds to the unique nature of this literary experience. We are inspired and know you will be too. Check out the lineup of speakers and workshop presenters for 2009.
As a non-profit organization, our supporters - your supporters - know this Conference is an important part of Jackson Hole's cultural community and a valuable component of many writers' lives. This commitment keeps the registration cost of our conference beyond reasonable. Our programs stay fresh and on the grow. Just last year we added a poetry track.
We thank all of you, and the publishing world at large, for keeping us on our toes, making sure your ideas are flowing toward print and that quality and creativity are always at their peak.
This is the year to visit Jackson Hole. And we're giving you the perfect excuse.
Call us with questions at 307-413-3332, or simply sign up.
The University of Wyoming Art Museum and the UW Fine Arts Outreach Program will host "Transforming Learning: The 2009 Summer Teacher Institute," July 26-31.
The institute, a concentrated week-long workshop for teachers, uses original art work as the inspiration to find answers to questions such as: How can art help us explore new places? Can art help us learn new things about those places most familiar to us?
Registration fee is $50 per person. Residence hall rooms, breakfast and lunch are included. Participants are responsible for their own evening meals and all travel costs. To register, call UW Fine Arts Outreach, (307) 766-5139.
Observe, question, explore, create and reflect becomes the model for discovery as teachers become students. The new Ann Simpson Artmobile exhibition, "Where We Are Is Just the Beginning," will serve as resource and inspiration, as will the summer exhibits in the UW Art Museum, including the mixed media sculpture of Montana artist Tracy Linder, watercolor sketches, drawings and prints by Thomas Moran and selections from "Adornment: Native American Regalia."
The institute is funded in part by the Sigrid See Excellence Fund for the Art Museum Teacher Institute, the UW Fine Arts Outreach Program, the UW Art Museum, the Wyoming Arts Council through the Wyoming State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great nation deserves great art.
"Imagine learning from the masters" is a guiding principle of the UW Art Museum's programs. The museum is located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Drive in Laramie. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.
Photo: Cheyenne elementary art teacher, Virginia Allshouse, works on her sculpture during the 2008 Summer Teacher Institute. (UW Art Museum)
For most of its 35 years, WWInc operated with a slate of volunteer officers elected at each annual conference. It included a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and five members-at-large (MAL), each representing 4-5 Wyoming counties.
That structure proved to be unwieldy in an era in which people are mobile and communicate mainly through electronic means. There's no need, for instance, for geography-based MALs when members go right to the source of organizational info, whether it's on the web, e-mailed newsletters, or the new listserv.
The four officers were bound by bylaws that were rigid and constricting. The organization lost many officers during the past five years, and the bylaws made it tough to get replacements.
At the 2008 WWInc conference, members approved a resolution by Joe Megeath to from a committee that would come up with ideas for a new structure. That committee was named the Organization Restructuring Committee which was almost as unwieldy as the structure itself. I volunteered to lead the committee and renamed it ORC in honor of the creatures in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The ORC committee members were not nearly as ugly and brutal as our namesakes, but we did have to make some tough choices. We forwarded our recommendations to the board meeting and discussed them June 5 in Casper.
Thanks to all the ORCs who participated in online meetings and fired off tons of suggestions via e-mail and by phone. They were Nancy Curtis, Glendo; Joe Megeath, Denver (formerly from Lander); Katie Smith, Sundance; John Beach, Denver (long-time Rock Springs resident); Pat Frolander, Sundance; Phyllis Dugan, Thayne; Midge Farmer, Gillette; Gaydell Collier, Sundance; Chris Williams, somewhere in Idaho; and yours truly. WWInc Prez Jeanne Rogers was an interested bystander.
So, WWInc members first voted for a change in bylaws that replaced the officer structure with a governing board. The only board position would be immediate past president, which in this case is Jeanne Rogers, WWInc's fearless leader for the past year. A slate of seven other members ran for the six remaining spots. The newly elected board includes Jeanne, Ann Heberlein, Casper; Julianne Couch, Laramie; Pat Frolander, Sundance; Katie Smith, Sundance; Joe Megeath, Denver; and Mike Shay, Cheyenne.
We spent three hours after the conference revising the bylaws. And that's just the beginning. Look for more updates from the board in the usual WWInc news outlets. Stay tuned...
Monday, June 8, 2009
Here's how it begins:
You will get a dose of Texas music, a Stampede from Utah, and some of the very best cowboy poetry Wyoming has to offer at the Seventh Annual Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering July 17-19, in Encampment, Wyo.
An evening concert on Saturday, July 18, features Jean Prescott, Award winning Texas singer/songwriter, Stampede, a cowboy musical group from Utah, and cowboy poets Andy Nelson of Pinedale, Wyo., and Chuck Larsen of Saratoga, Wyo. You are guaranteed to laugh with Andy and Chuck take to the stage. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Encampment School. Tickets are $15 and are available in advance or at the door.
Cowboy Gathering memberships are also available with prices beginning at $25.
Bring Andy and/or Chuck to your community by applying for a WAC Arts Across Wyoming grant. Go to http://wyoarts.state.wy.us.
Cloudveil, leader in inspired mountain apparel, is sponsoring an online reader-judged writing contest for Jackson Hole Writers Conference attendees.
Deadline is June 24. Prize is Cloudveil gear for first, second and third place finishers. Announcements will be made at the June 25-28 conference.
Theme: Inspiration -- what moves you from essence to exultation, from source to summit, from muse to masterpiece.
Your story and/or poem need not be about nature or the outdoors. JHMC wants your unique or universal, absurd or utterly profound, honest or fantastic creations.
You may submit one entry per category -- story and poetry -- to firstname.lastname@example.org Stories 500 words or less, poetry 40 lines or less. Entries will be posted on The Mountain Culture blog to be judged by the blog's new and faithful readers.
Find full details at: The Mountain Culture or on the conference blog.
Led by bio-acousticians Bernie Krause, Martyn Stewart, and Kevin Colver, the focus will be the soundscape from many perspectives. These include the biophony — the non-human critter voices in given habitats, geophony — the non-biological sources of sound and what they reveal, and anthrophony — the noise that humans interject into the world and its direct affect on critter life and human experience. Attendees will explore the benefits of the voice of the natural world as it relates to human health and culture, including creative sound arts.
The workshop includes both field and classroom activities and is spread over a larger number of days and nights so that participants have several opportunities to record sounds. As part of the program, The Murie Center will provide accommodations in comfortable (but rustic) cabins and food service on site.
FMI: email@example.com or call Kat at 707/996-6677.
Space is available for both University of Wyoming students and non-UW students for a June 13 bus trip to Denver for the Westword Music Showcase.
The bus leaves at noon from the east Wyoming Union parking lot and will return to campus around midnight. Cost is $10 for UW students and $15 for non-students. Tickets for the music showcase are available from the Wyoming Union information desk. Tickets include the bus ride and admittance to the music event.
For more information, contact the UW Campus Activities Center at (307) 766-6340 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 50 bands will perform at the music showcase on different stages set up around Lincoln Street in Denver. The showcase's Web site is http://musicshowcase.westword.com/index.php.
Had the chance to sit in on Ted Kooser's final session at the Wyoming Writer's annual conference this past weekend in Casper. I regretted missing the opening readings and Saturday sessions, but I took notes and even tried to sketch him as he stood at the podium...my sketches seem to turn out caricature-like, although that isn't the view I'm going for.
A copy of his poem "Etude" was handed out, but he began with a reading of an essay he'd written about a house he had once lived in with his wife and children, and where he'd read in the paper that a 15-year-old boy had recently (in relation to when he'd written the essay) been murdered there and two other people wounded in a robbery attempt over cocaine. He was building a scale model of his wife's childhood home, and while he wallpapered the walls and painted, his imagination would fit into the rooms. He imagined himself living there, though he never had, and how the death of the boy had made his heart drop at the thought of he and his family living in that house and feeling safe while there.
The example was about metaphor and how one thing becomes something else, and something else, but has to become, to come back to, that thing again. Kooser specialty is metaphor. We lowly poets tend to say things like "The clouds in the sky were the color of gun metal gray as they pelted the ground with hail." A prosaic example, but Kooser helped diagram what metaphor can and should do. He had some great stories throughout -- like meeting the national horse-shoe-throwing champion. He asked him how he got so good and he said, "I threw 100 shoes a day." Kooser's poetry students were assinged to read 100 poems before they attempted to write one.
Think of metaphor as an imaginary equation, where one side must equal the other. Here's the poem so you can have the example that he gave to us:
I have been watching a Great Blue Heron
Let's say that he holds down an everyday job
No one has seen him there, writing a letter
Pretty spectacular stuff for the seeming simplicity of the image, yet Kooser led us on a journey of how he crafts his metaphors. Tenor and vehicle are the two sides of the equation -- tenor is the real thing, the blue heron; vehicle is the imaginative thing, in this case, the lover composing a letter. Remember, he said, "comparisons are most effective when they are the most disparate or widely divergent." Kooser stays in the imaginative realm with the lover who "holds down an every day job, in a blue suit that blends in." The blue refers back to the blue heron, a blending in to their environments, the heron tall and thin like the cattails he is walking in, the man blending in the shades of suits. The heron moves slowly, so as not to disturb the water and scaring the fish. The man wants to write a love letter at his job, and "No one has seen him there, writing a letter/to a woman he loves." His, and the heron's, inconspicuousness are their own reward. "The long days swim beneath the glass top," the days are like the heron looking for fish, waiting for the opportunity to spear one. The man's "pencil is poised in the air like the beak of a bird," and the stealth of the man "would spear the whole world if he could, toss it and swallow it live." The man would take in the whole world if he could by writing the love letter, that kisses and stings.
Kooser points out that only those things that have something in common to the tenor and the vehicle make sense and hold the poem together. These things can be related on each side of the equation. When metaphor is thought of in this way, then one can begin to fine tune a metaphor.
He read another poem about an aluminum boat floating on a pond. The imaginative part of the poem involved a fat man who becomes like the boat, precariously tethered to life because he hasn't taken care of himself, but also because we are all lightly tethered to life; the temporal nature of man.
Kooser mentioned a Swedish author, Tomas Transtromer, whom he especially admires for his metaphoric talent, such as "turning out the light, it was a tablet dissolving in a glass of darkenss." Kooser is a student of simplicity and clarity. He is devotee of E.B White, and he favors gramatically correct writing and punctuation. He thinks writing should be clear and transparent. He doesn't like the small "i" and thinks sentences should begin with a capital. He said, "the minute the reader's attention is called to the surface of the page is when the writing becomes weak." He also said that nothing kills a poem faster than a lot of exposition--this extra information should become the title.
He also feels that many of the performance poets depend on their performance of their work. When these poets die, their poetry will die with them. Most of these poems don't hold up without the performance. He also cited Dylan Thomas, who had a wonderful and melodic voice in the reading of his poems. When he died, people stopped reading him. My thought: it is interesting that performance poetry is not just a phenomenon of the younger generation, but has some bit of a cultural history link.