Poetry at CSU Monterey Bay, 2015

CSU Monterey Bay Summer Arts Poetry Class (2015)

Sunday, May 4, 2015

I’m happy to report that I have been given permission to organize a poetry class for the summer arts program at CSU Monterey Bay in the summer of 2015 and that Cecilia Woloch has accepted my invitation to be the primary artist-in-residence. The class will feature workshops and readings by a number of nationally known poets and promises to be even better than the Idyllwild Poetry Festival, which Cecilia was the guiding light for close to a decade. The class will take place from July 13 to July 26 (2015).

Although the summer classes are meant to provide a unique artistic experience for CSU students, they are open to enrollment by anyone of any age. If you are interested in taking a look at this year’s course offerings, here is the link:

http://blogs.calstate.edu/summerarts

The news that this class has been approved as part of the CSUMB’s summer arts curriculum is especially gratifying to me because Cecilia Woloch is willing to serve as the lead artist-in-residence for the full two weeks that the class will be in session. For both of us, the chance to work together on a project like this is the culmination of years of paying dues. Thirty odd years ago, I was working for a pittance for the California Arts Council as an Artist-in-Residence at various schools in the San Gabriel Valley. The classes in poetry I taught to elementary school students as a CAC artist were an outgrowth of a program called California Poets in the Schools, an organization based in San Francisco which I first worked with in 1974. By the early 1980s, I had worked in enough schools that I was regarded as a veteran to whom younger poets turned for advice about how to get young students to play with language and think in a more metaphorical manner. One of the poets I shared writing exercises with was a young poet from Kentucky named Cecilia Woloch. She impressed me immediately as one of the most promising poets to come out of the tail end of the baby boom generation. She has more than fulfilled that early, seething potential and has gone on to become one of the best, most inspiring teachers of poetry in the country. It is in large part because I saw first-hand what she accomplished as the guiding light of the Idyllwild Poetry Festival for many years that I want her as my primary featured artist-in-residence.

For those unfamiliar with Cecilia’s poetry and writing, here are some links that will give you an initial introduction.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/cecilia-woloch

http://ceciliawoloch.squarespace.com/