Monday, March 2, 2015

Bay to Ocean Conference

This past weekend I drove to Maryland for the 18th annual Bay to Ocean Conference held at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills. I was one of three poets on the program, each of us leading a workshop. The other two poets were Sue Ellen Thompson and Sandra Beasley. Sue Ellen, who oversees the poetry part of the program, also moderated a poetry panel called “Should Poems Be Angry?”

I arrived in Maryland on Friday afternoon as the drive was too long for me to have made it the day of the conference, so I stayed two nights at the Hilton Gardens Hotel in nearby Grasonville. I made a great choice with that hotel as it was beautiful. My room was very big with two queen beds, a desk, fridge, microwave, tv, chair, desk, and a gorgeous view of the wharf and its yachts. I brought some drafts of new poems to work on so considered this weekend also a mini-retreat, and since it cost me more to go than I was paid, I also considered it a mini-vacation. How's that for rationalizing?

 My room—it was even bigger than it looks
The view out my window—see the snow on the water?

Approximately 250 people attended the conference which was sold out weeks in advance. Most of the presenters were prose writers, approximately two dozen of them, so most of the attendees were also prose writers.

I had 14 poets in my workshop and we had a lovely session. I led the group through a freewriting activity which generated a lot of writing. Then we mined the material for the poem hiding in there. My hope is that new poems will emerge from the workshop and that participants left not only with a strategy they can re-employ on their own to generate new material but also with a handful of revision strategies.

I had a nice lunch with one of my poets who I’d met back in December. Then I attended a panel on poetry journals. After that I felt in need of some nap time, so headed back to my lovely hotel. After a substantial snooze, I again enjoyed room service for dinner. Eloise at the Plaza.

I headed home early Sunday morning and arrived there just as the snow was getting down to serious business.

I love doing workshops and was happy to have been included in this year’s conference.

Now I need to go write some angry poems. Maybe a curse poem.

 Bookstore—The Crafty Poet is festooned with orange post-its

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