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Some highlights from this year's conference, "Standing on the Shore: Glimpsing New Horizons" in Chicago:
2013 CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
Our Keynote Speaker was Geri Chavis, speaking about “At the Shore of Possibilities: Looking Out and Looking In" Geri is an English Professor at St. Catherine University in Minneapolis, a poetry therapy mentor/supervisor, a certified poetry therapist and a licensed psychologist in the state of Minnesota.
She has published and presented widely on poetry/bibliotherapy since the early 80's, and her most recent book is Poetry and Story Therapy: The Healing Power of Creative Expression. She has taught many poetry therapy workshops both in the U.S. and in Ireland, Cornwall and Scotland.
The Keynote Poet was Antler. Antler won the 1987 Witter Bynner Prize awarded annually "to an outstanding younger poet" by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in New York City, and the 1985 Walt Whitman Award. The citation stated: "His poems make audible the words of the earth, with original energy, insouciance, and affectionate comradeliness toward all beings."
Of Antler's book Last Words, Allen Ginsberg said: "More fineness than I thought probable to see again in my lifetime from younger solitary unknown self-inspired US poet." Antler: The Selected Poems was published in December 2000.
Visit his website: http://www.antlerpoet.net/
Our Opening Ceremony was led by Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan and Marty McConnell. Emily is a Chicago-born and raised poet, performer is currently a Real Talk Avenue Artist, co-slammaster and member of the 2010 & 2011 Mental Graffiti Slam Teams, ranked 14th at the 2011 Individual Word Poetry Slam, a board member for Chicago Slam Works, and chair of poetry for the Bucktown Arts Festival. Her first chapbook, Cigarette Love Songs and Nicotine Kisses, was published in 2004.
Marty is the author of wine for a shotgun, released in October 2012. Part of the vanguard of poets fusing and refusing the delineations between literary and oral poetry, McConnell’s work blurs the lines between autobiography and personae to comment on and illuminate what it means to live and love outside the lines in early 21st century America.
McConnell’s work has been published in numerous anthologies, including A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona and in journals includingIndiana Review, Crab Orchard, Salt Hill Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal. She has performed and facilitated workshops at schools and festivals around the country, including The Dodge Poetry Festival. She lives in Chicago, and travels the country performing and leading workshops.
Our Closing Event was hosted by Andy Young. Andy performs Gypsy Jazz, Irish Traditional Music, and Quebecois tunes on Hammered Dulcimer, Irish Flute,and Tin Whistle. His proficient skills on the hammered dulcimer have earned him notoriety as one of the top players in the country, sought after at music festivals nationwide. His concerts infuse expressive musical arrangements with humor and insight to provide a deep understanding of the role of music in our multicultural and interpersonal world. Andy has pioneered the playing of Gypsy Jazz (the music of Django Reinhardt) on the hammered dulcimer, a genre very few dulcimer players have explored. His event explored mixing music with spoken word.