Jefferson May 15 Workshop Based on Mary Oliver’s Writings

Writing coach June Jefferson will present a workshop called “Pen and Paper and a Breath of Fresh Air” on Saturday, May 15 from 10 a.m. until noon at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. Instruction will be based on the writings of Mary Oliver.

Poet and essayist Mary Oliver will be in Fayetteville on May 18 to give a reading at the Walton Art Center as part of Artosphere, the Arkansas Arts+Nature Festival.

Oliver’s first collection of poems, No Voyage, and Other Poems, was published in 1963. Her published books include Thirst (Beacon Press, 2006); Why I Wake Early (2004); Owls and Other Fantasies : Poems and Essays (2003); Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems (1999); West Wind (1997); White Pine (1994); New and Selected Poems (1992), which won the National Book award; House of Light (1990), which won the Christopher Award and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award; and American Primitive (1983), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Participants will have a chance to win two free tickets to the May 18 reading. The tickets have been made available by the Invitation to Write Community Project.

Here’s an example of the poetry that will be used as writing prompts in the workshop:


Everyone should be born into this world happy

and loving everything.

But in truth it rarely works that way.

For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.

Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes

almost forgetting how wondrous the world is

and how miraculously kind some people can be?

And have you too decided that probably nothing important

is ever easy?

Not, say, for the first sixty years.

Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,

and some days I feel I have wings.

–Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems (2009)

Find information about the Artosphere Festival here.

For information about the Invitation to Write Community Project, contact June Jefferson.

Phil Slattery writes fiction and publishes and

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