New Poetry Series at Hunterdon Art Museum

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By Chara Kramer:

MaryAnn Miller, a poet and an artist, has been involved with teaching and school counseling for 28 years. Recently, she has put together a poetry series at Hunterdon Art Museum. This series will begin this April 5, 2013 in honor of National Poetry Month. Lucky for me, I got in touch with MaryAnn to get some specifics:

Kramer: What exactly is a Resident Book Artist, and how did you get involved with it at the Experimental Printmaking Institute?

Miller: As the Resident Book Artist at the Experimental Printmaking Institute, my job is to collaborate with artists to design and construct an edition of handmade books using the prints they have created in the studio. I help them decide on the format for their books, for instance, should it be a traditional case-bound book, an accordion book, or I might innovate a form just for a particular project. I have been doing this since 2001 when I took a Digital Book Arts Workshop at EPI and the Director asked me to stay on and teach the next session. I should add I have been a visual artist all my life and taught art in Public School and Museums.

Kramer: In what ways have you seen poetry change because of the use of technology?

Miller: My experience with poetry and technology started with Book Arts. Photoshop, scanners, and wide format printers allow poets to integrate their work with the visual arts in new ways. Poems can be arranged on the page so easily with text being bent and stretched, copied and pasted. My experience has been more on the making end of it, but the disseminating function of technology has obviously made it possible for poetry to be published and read in a flash! The very slow hand-made low-tech side pf artists’ books is at one end of a continuum and the almost instantaneous on-line publication is at the other end. There are many more choices for poets because of technology. What that does to the quality of writing is a question for each writer to consider.

Kramer: Was there one significant piece of writing that gave you the idea for this Poetry Series at the Hunterdon Art Museum? Why did you choose the Hunterdon Art Museum as the location?

Miller: It wasn’t a piece of writing that gave me the idea for a poetry series at the Hunterdon Art Museum. It was that there is no series in the area and Clinton is actually an easy town to get to situated at the junction of Routes I-78 and 31.  The HAM is a beautiful renovated stone mill and is a center for art, craft and design. It sits on the banks of the South Branch of the Raritan River, has a gorgeous new terrace. The town comes alive on Friday evenings with people strolling, listening to live music, eating dinner on the river, and boating in warm weather. The HAM is a perfect spot to enjoy some poetry, see some art and sense the relationships among the arts and the environment.

Kramer: What kinds of things should audience members expect to see and hear each month?

Miller: Folks who come should expect to hear fine poetry from well-published poets from the Tri-State area. We start on April 5 with JC Todd and Mark Hillringhouse, both Dodge Poets. The Galleries will be free and open to the public so you can wander through or get a tour from a member of the Museum. There are activities planned for after the readings, everything from Tango lessons, a cash bar, cooking demos, to art talks, and mini-workshops.

May 4: Lois Harrod and BJ Ward

June 7: Scott McVay and Grant Clauser

Kramer: Will your book artist books be on display at these monthly events?

Miller: My artist books won’t be on display, but the Galleries will be loaded with contemporary fine art. I will be hosting and coordinating.

Kramer: How important do you think it is to have a poet read his or her work to a live audience?

Miller: When poets read to an audience a dynamic interaction is created that the poet doesn’t have when working in isolation. People tell us things we never imagine as we write. I don’t think about audience when I write so it’s always interesting to discover how your work is received. It’s fun and clarifying: and although it doesn’t influence how I write it feels like a reward to be with people who like words as much as I do.

The event:

Hunterdon Art Museum Poetry Series

7 Lower Center Street, Clinton NJ 08809

First Fridays: 6 – 7:30 pm

 

Brief Bio

MaryAnn L. Miller taught art, reading and was a School Counselor in NJ public schools for 28 years. She has an M.Ed. in School Counseling from the College of NJ and an MFA from Rosemont College. She has recently completed a Postgraduate semester with the poet David Wojahn at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has been published in Philadelphia Poets Anthology 2011 and 2013, Certain Circuits, The International Review of African American Art, The Fox Chase Review 2013, Rathalla Review, and forthcoming in Kaleidoscope magazine and MuseHouse Journal. Miller’s book of poems, Locus Mentis, has been published by PS Books. She has been the Resident Book Artist at the Experimental Printmaking Institute, Lafayette College for twelve years, where she teaches and collaborates with artists designing and constructing artist books. Her work is in the National Museum of Women in the Arts and in many corporate and private collections. She publishes hand bound artist books pairing artists and poets through her press: www.luciapress.com.

Writing Prompt Wednesday – Creative Nonfiction

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Exploring the hidden parts of your neighborhood.

This is writing prompt is taking inspiration for PS Books newest title, “Forgotten Philadelphia”.

 

You want to look around your neighborhood and start researching it. Is there a building you’ve walked by a million times but have no idea what its former purpose was before it became a backdrop for graffiti?

That’s the kind of thing you want to look for. Try using the library to find out the history of the building. See if you can interview someone who was around when the building was bubbling with activity.

Then, you want to write the history of the building as if the building were a person. What has that building be a witness to? What secrets does it hold?

Writing Prompt Wednesday- Talking About Tone

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Today’s writing prompt involves some technology. You might want to grab some headphones and Google your favorite free internet radio.

 

In order to play around with tone, I want you to Google music you are not familiar with. You want the clip of music to be fairly long. Look for music that runs about 10 minutes and has no words (so a strict instrumental piece).

Your job is to listen to the music for the first three minutes. Don’t write; don’t think. Listen.

After the three minute mark, you want to start a mind dump. Write about how you are feeling, what emotions are invoked by the music, and maybe even think about where someone would listen to this music?

Once the music is done and you have your mind dump, you want to start drafting for about 15 minutes. Take two characters and put them in a situation. Maybe they are running late for a movie or dinner reservations. One of your characters should be in the mood which comes up the most in your mind dump.

Let the scene with the two characters play out.

Writing Prompt Wednesday- Episodic Fiction

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After reading this article on the National Writing Project website called “Episodic Fiction: Another Way to Tell a Story” (http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/202), I thought it would be interesting to explore this way to write.

The basic idea in episodic fiction is the writer composes brief little snippets of a story with one object appearing in every one of the episodes.

These rules are in the article mentioned above and I feel they help explain this more:

1.The work involves a dynamic character, one who changes in fits and starts throughout the course of the story.

2.Episodes vary in length.

3.Episodes are roughly chronological, but not specifically so.

4.A single unifying device runs throughout the story, appearing in each episode.

5.Episodes are not related directly by cause and effect; instead, all are related to a central theme.

6.If a traditional short story is a movie, moving in a linear fashion from beginning to end, an episodic story is more like a slide show or a music video.

7.And finally, to borrow a rule from George Orwell, “Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”

 

Today’s prompt asks you to take a single object and weave it into different moments in time. Maybe you want to take a pair of scissors (They are sitting next to me. Which makes you wonder why I have scissors next to me, but that’s another story). In one scene, the scissors are being used to cut thread so the character in the story can start making a baby blanket. In the next scene, the scissors are being packed in a box by the character because he or she is moving. Basically the object is the catalyst for the story and the character grows as the object continues remains the same.

Writing Prompt Wednseday- Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Today’s writing prompt is more of a tutorial for people writing in this genre.

It comes from the Writer’s Digest site where Literary Agent Lucienne Diver uses a PowerPoint to discuss how to write a sellable novel.

Here’s the link:

http://tutorials.writersdigest.com/p-350-writing-science-fiction-fantasy-and-paranormal.aspx