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Guest Blogger Robert Davis Hoffmann: Intersections

49 Writers - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 5:46am
In the Sheldon Jackson Museum where I work, I get to sit among the collection of priceless objects from each of Alaska’s Native cultures. It’s impossible not to notice that every object is embellished with artwork. Among our Tlingit people, clan designs decorate every utilitarian object: bentwood boxes, carved bowls, sheep horn spoons, Chilkat blankets, speaker staffs, halibut hooks, canoe paddles, everything.
I’m aware of this permeation as I design or write. For me, art and poetry are in things, ideas are in things. They wait. They wait to be realized, interpreted, defined.

In my mind, everything lives in containers. The sea world contains the Sea People, and so on. Mortuary poles contain bentwood chests with cremated remains. Songs contain stories of sorrow, celebration and remembrance. Legends contain lessons for socializing the young. It’s about embodiment.

On slow days in the museum, I have my handy sketchbook, because it’s impossible for me not to be inspired when I’m breathing art. I get pretty experimental when I have little to do but sketch. My pages start filling with shapes, concentric, overlapping forms, lines that increase and decrease in tapered widths as is characteristic of formline design. My sketchbook is a curious muddle of Tlingit looking shapes, and starts of poems.

Sometimes creations come “all-at-once” when I visualize an entire design, or when I have an entire poem outline. Here I start with the main structure or framework, and all I have to do is fill in the blanks.

Sometimes creations take shape organically. When I start with a few powerful lines, my free-association propagates more lines. In design, I begin sketching from any point on the canvas and allow the design to develop.

When I create, I give form to a concept, whether by written alphabet, or by the system of formline elements – the ovoid, ‘u’ and ‘s’ shapes, and the negative spaces that result from combining these shapes. My constraints are determined by the surface I’m decorating, and in poetry the lines are limited by page size. They both have visual impact.

Art and writing both have form and content.

In working out form, I consider composition, whether to be literal or symbolic.
In working out content, I consider how to interpret the subject, what it means.
All the rest is about filler, connections, interconnections, allusions, juxtaposition, what to add, what to leave out. As with any creation, knowing when to stop is the difference between good or amateur.

I’m lucky to work in this museum. Quiet time taps me into a source, from which either word or visuals spring. Both essentially allow me to make coherent that which forms in that source. Our Tlingit culture, both the rich past and the current history as it unfolds, are pathways to that place. I live and breathe this. The lighting is dim; the objects seem to glow. How can I not be part of this? How can I not want to interpret this feeling?

Robert Davis Hoffmann is a Tlingit poet originally from the village of Kake, fully engaged in his heritage and culture. He describes the creative impulse for his poetry and carving this way: “My desire to create comes from a drive to connect my past to the present, to redefine the traditional as present day cultural practices."
Categories: Arts & Culture

Gathering for Fifteen Years on Kachemak Bay

49 Writers - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 5:00am

 Gathering. Each June for the past 15 years, writers have been gathering at the tip of the Homer Spit for the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. Fifteen years of keynote presenters like Maxine Hong Kingston, Billy Collins, Anne Lamott, Michael Cunningham, Barry Lopez, Naomi Shihab Nye, and just last year Andre Dubus III. This year’s keynoter is Natasha Trethewey, two-term United State Poet Laureate and a really lovely person. That’s what’s great about the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, participants get to learn that the faculty, writers they admire, are really lovely people.

Out at the end of the land, water on three sides, mountains and glaciers and bald eagles all around, barriers are broken down. In incredible workshops given by award-winning authors, participants learn from workshop leaders, and workshop leaders learn from participants. It’s an exhausting four days of readings, panels, and lots of in-depth instruction on all aspects of the writing process, but one that is filled with bright moments of inspiration.
I’ve been lucky enough to help out with a few of these conferences, lucky to teach at some of them, and before that, I was lucky enough to attend quite a few. I can tell you that the visiting faculty (and yes, the core faculty as well) always gets as much as they give, and they always tell me on the way to the airport that they’ve been changed by meeting the participants at the conference. It’s a win-win-win-WIN situation.
This year, the visiting faculty is Dan Beachy-Quick, Jennine Capó Crucet, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Forrest Gander, Lee Goodman, Richard Hoffman, Sara Leavitt, Frank Soos, and David Stevenson. The returning core faculty is Rich Chiappone, me, Nancy Lord, Peggy Shumaker, and Sherry Simpson. We’ll also have agent Miriam Altshuler and editor Jane Rosenman. The entire schedule is up at the conference website, and you’ve got until 5pm on May 2 to take advantage of the early registration discount.

I hope to see all of you there in Homer from June 10 to 14. I can promise that every person who attends the conference will come away with something fabulous to inspire their writing for the rest of the year and beyond.
take care,
Erin
Categories: Arts & Culture

The View from Here

49 Writers - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 5:00am
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Family. Community. Support. 49 Writers, where Alaska’s writers gather.

It has been a privilege to be among you, to speak to you each Monday and to help create opportunities for learning and communing. Thank you for your warm support. Thank you for being amazing writers, and more importantly, thank you for being amazing people.

Jeremy Pataky and the board of 49 Writers will continue to grow the organization in a way that best meets the needs of all of us. I am so very glad to be part of this family. For once again, I will be back in the trenches with you, working on my own poetry the only way that I can. Writing can be a lonely business, but it can also be raucous and redemptive. 
So this week, sit yourself down and write. Share with another writer – your time, your writing, your best trick to keep yourself at the page. Our words are important. Our words create the world.

Take care,
Erin



Categories: Arts & Culture

Weekly Roundup of Writing Opportunities for April 22

49 Writers - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 7:00am

With the beautiful weather it’s hard to stay inside. Summer feels close and indoor events seem to recede. Soon conferences and retreats will start in different parts of our state. I plan to attend at least one and hope you will have the chance to do so too.
EVENTS IN ANCHORAGE
Events at the UAA Bookstore
Thursday, April 21 from 5:00pm-7:00pmCecilia “Pudge” Kleinkauf presents Rookie No More:  Flyfishing Novice from a Pro
The book, Rookie No More is a lifesaver for novice fly fishers who are struggling with unanswered questions about various aspects of flyfishing. Cecilia "Pudge" Kleinkauf has been an Alaskan since 1969.   Her company, Women's Flyfishing, has taught women how to fly fish and has taken them on guided trips throughout Alaska to find the best fishing for salmon, trout, char, Arctic grayling, and other species.  Her website http://www.womensflyfishing.net  is a leading resource for fly fishing enthusiasts.There is free parking for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot, and Sports Campus West Lot. 
Saturday, April 23 from 1:00pm-3:00pm
Celebrating Shakespeare: Four Hundred Years On
English professors Toby Widdicombe and Sharon Emmerichs, UAA students and staff share favorite sonnets.This literary tribute to Shakespeare commemorates the 400 year anniversary of his death on April 23, 1616.  
Everyone is encouraged to come.
There is free parking at UAA on Saturdays.
Local Library Events
Anchorage Public Library's Teen Writing Societyneeds our help!
Loussac Library's Teen Writing Society (TWS) is a club for teen writers. They are looking for reliable adults to lead their meetings and provide writing prompts or other activities. 49 Writers member Lynn Lovegreen has volunteered to lead the April meetings and help find leaders for the future.
One idea is to have different adult writers volunteer to take each month, so the teens benefit from seeing different writing types and styles. Or, if someone would like to help longer-term, that is another possibility. At this point, meetings are 6-7:30 pm on the second and fourth Wednesdays, but there is some room for flexibility. 
Please contact Lynn Lovegreen at lynnlovegreen@gmail.com or teen librarian Jon P. Ebron at EbronJP@ci.anchorage.ak.us if you are interested or would like more information.
Book Signings
EVENTS AROUND ALASKA
SOUTHCENTRAL, MAT-SU, KENAI PENINSULA
The Copper Basin will welcome State Writer Laureate Frank Soos to our communities at the end of April. Frank will meet with a local bookclub and students at Kenny Lake and Glennallen Schools. Local writers are invited to Writers' Workshops at the Kenny Lake Library on Thursday, April 28, from 1 to 4 pm and at the Copper Basin Senior Citizen log cabin in Glennallen on Friday, April 29 from 1 to 4. Frank will present a program, "An Alaska Writers Sampler," at the Kenny Lake Community Hall on Thursday evening, April 28, at 6 pm. The public is also invited to a reading of Frank Soos' work on Friday night, April 29, at the Carriage House in Gakona. Local musicians will chime in for the reading event, and snacks and coffee and tea will be provided. Come join us! For more information, contact Mary Odden 822-3727 or fiddletunes@hotmail.com
As part of the Machetanz Arts Festival at the Mat-Su Collegeon June 4 and 5, writing workshops will be offered.To learn more about the classes and to register: http://register.asapconnected.com/Courses.aspx?CourseGroupID=14213
Saturday, June 4How Shall I Begin?: Starting Your Piece with a Bang taught by Alyse KnorrFinding Yourself in a Poem taught by Julie LeMayThe Sphere of Writing taught by Don Rearden
Sunday, June 5Capturing Character The Mechanics of Writing Great Characters in Fiction and Non-Fiction taught by Martha AmorePlaying with Description taught by Lynn LovegreenWalking the Line taught by Susanna Mishler
There is also a panel discussion at the end of each day, featuring the writers who’ve taught during that day.
SOUTHEAST
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WRITERS
Seeking Writers and Photographers for New Alaska Foodie MagazineEdible Alaska, a new magazine focused on food culture and practices in Alaska, will hit the newsstands in June. Currently they are getting ready to launch our website with lots of new content. Thus, they are looking for writers, photographers, recipe writers, and local chefs (who want to be a resource to them). 
Article pitches should fall (loosely) into the categories: eat, drink, and food for thought. Web articles will be between 250-400 words and will pay about $50 per piece and an additional $25 for an accompanying photograph. The rate is somewhat negotiable for more experienced writers/photographers and for longer pieces. 
They are looking for original recipes that can include your standard recipe and a "how-to" video. They are not looking for the usual story about Midnight Sun Brewery or well-known restaurant reviews. They are looking to expand what people know and think about food (and food culture) in Alaska as well as really create an archive of food practices throughout the state (both urban and rural).
Please email your pitch to bree@edibleak.com with the subject line: Edible Article Pitch.  Please include in your pitch sample writing clips, if you have any. 
The magazine is particularly interested in recruiting writers from outside of Anchorage and writers who live in rural/bush areas of the state. Don't let a lack of writing experience deter you from pitching a story, they are interested in cultivating new writers who have great stories to share.”
CONFERENCES, AWARDS, RETREATS & RESIDENCIES
The fifteenth Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference will be held on June 10-14 in Homer. This year's keynote is Pulitzer Prize winning, National Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, who will be joined by Miriam Altshuler (agent), Dan Beachy-Quick, Richard Chiappone, Jennine Capó Crucet, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Forrest Gander, Lee Goodman, Richard Hoffman, Erin Coughlin Hollowell, Sarah Leavitt, Nancy Lord, Jane Rosenman (editor), Peggy Shumaker, Sherry Simpson, Frank Soos, and David Stevenson. For more information and to register go to the website
Registration now open to the 2016 Tutka Bay Writers Retreat, which will take place on September 9-11, 2016 at the Tutka Bay Lodge. Faculty instructor award-winning writer Debra Magpie Earling will lead fiction writers in an in-depth writing workshop. There will be much in-class writing, and the overall atmosphere will stick close to supportiveness, collegiality, and constructive improvement. The engaged student will emerge with improved techniques for further work. Early registration fee is $600 for members and $650 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.49writingcenter.org/Retreats%26Events/retreats.php.
Storyknife Writers Retreat is open for submissions for its inaugural Storyknife Fellow. We just can't wait for all six proposed cabin and main house to be built, so the Board of Directors of Storyknife is beginning with a single Storyknife Fellow who will live in the beautifully appointed cabin on the property. Women writers (over 21) can apply for a 2 week to 4 week residency during the month of September 2016. The successful candidate(s) will receive a $250 per week stipend at the end of their residency. This money can be used to cover the costs of travel, food, and a rental car if the resident is from out of the drivable area. The resident will need to purchase and prepare their own meals, with the exception of a welcome dinner and a farewell dinner, at the beginning and end of their stay. More information about the residency at https://storyknife.org and apply at https://storyknifewritersretreat.submittable.com/submit.
The sixth annual North Words Writers Symposium will be held May 25-28 in Skagway. Novelist/essayist/editor and storyteller supreme Brian Doyle of Portland, Oregon (Mink RiverThe PloverMartin Marten, and the forthcoming Chicago) will be the 2016 keynote author. He will be joined by Alaskan authors Kim Heacox, Eowyn Ivey, Heather Lende, Lynn Schooler, John Straley, and Emily Wall. For more information and to register go to http://nwwriterss.com/
360 North will start the 2015-16 season of Writers’ Showcase. All Alaska writers are invited to submit fiction and nonfiction pieces. Stories are read before a live studio audience by professional actors, and later broadcast throughout Alaska on statewide public TV and radio. Stories should be about 10 minutes long when read aloud. Profanity will need to be edited for broadcast.SUBMISSION DEADLINE              RECORDING DATEApril 25, 2016                                    June 2, 2016Submit to arts [at] ktoo [dot] org.For questions contact Scott Burton
 - Arts, Culture and Music Producer at 907.463.6473
Alaska magazine is seeking pitches from new and established writers. We are a publication for Alaska enthusiasts and need a wide variety of articles. The best section to break into the magazine is KtoB (formerly Ketchikan to Barrow), and includes everything from cool job profiles to End of the Trail obituaries to a short write up about an Alaska-made product. We’d also like to see queries about culture, history, nature, interviews with Alaskans and feature articles ideas. Review recent hard copy issues of Alaska magazine and visit www.alaskamagazine.com for more about us, and then send short, descriptive pitches to freelance contributing editor Susan Sommer at sbsommer@mtaonline.net.
13 Chairs Literary Journal, a new literary journal publishing short stories and poetry from new and emerging authors, seeks submissions and volunteers. They are currently composing their flagship issue, straight out of JBER, AK. To learn more, and to submit, email info@13chairs.com or visit 13chairs.com.
Thank You for Your Support!49 Writers members know that their membership helps support all of the workshops, author tours, Crosscurrents events, readings, blog posts, and craft talks. Won't you join them by becoming a member? Join Us
49 Writers Volunteer Seta

Have news or events you'd like to see listed here? Email details to 49roundup (at) gmail.com. Your message must be received by noon on the Thursday before the roundup is scheduled to run. Unless your event falls in the "Opportunities" category, it should occur no more than 30 days from when we receive your email.
Categories: Arts & Culture

Guest Blogger Robert Davis Hoffmann: Journal as Ritual

49 Writers - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 5:00am
Everyone has rituals, things that we do in a certain way, at a certain time, or in certain settings. Some of the rituals we perform on special days of the month. Back home in Kake for example, before people go out to Grave Island on Memorial Day, family members clear off family graves and make the path to the gravesites accessible. Rituals like this will continue even after we are long gone because they have social benefit to the community. It defines the conduct of community members in regard to something sacred, remembrance of those who have walked into the forest.

I differentiate between the things I consider ritual from things that are mere habits, habits that are just repeated behaviors that are almost automatic. Rituals, for me, are the acts that connect me to the sacred and stir within me, feelings of awe and respect.

I like to rise early. It’s the best time of day for prayer and meditation. Rising early has become habitual; prayer and meditation have become ritual.

In the early morning I will sit with my cup of coffee and admire our Sitka scenery from my 4th floor window. From this altitude I will watch the rain and wind playing on our Crescent Bay, seagulls circling where a sea lion emerges, fog hugging the folds in the mountains. I will be thankful for my life and breath, for my senses with which to experience our majestic miraculous rainforest and its complex systems.

When I rise early it seems easier to be in a state of appreciation and thanksgiving. I am not yet in the hustle and bustle of the workday, and my mental to-do list hasn’t taken on a sense of urgency. In this uncluttered mental space, I find it easier to write, easier to let thoughts flow.

For the past two months, I have gotten back to morning writing, this time prompted by a quest to live with deeper appreciation and awareness of my daily gifts. Someone introduced me to the practice of keeping a daily “gratitude journal” as an antidote to depression and anxiety. Since starting this daily practice, I have been paying closer attention to details.

I took an Introduction to Drawing class last November in order to relearn some basics. One of those basics was taking my time in drawing. There were no quick sketches, but rather I had to really, REALLY study the subject, the subtleties and nuances. In this manner of looking at one thing with intense scrutiny, I began writing about one single thing or person each day for which I felt gratitude. I write about what made that special, about how it made me feel. I go into detail. I write about what qualified the daily entry as a “gift.”

There is much to be said for writers staying in the practice of writing. I had a teacher in college who rose every day at 5:00 a.m. and wrote lines of poems, whether good or bad, just to stay in the habit of writing. I’ve never been that disciplined. Sooner or later daily practice would start to feel tedious, laborious – habitual.

This kind of journaling, exploring gratitude, has not only helped me focus on details and descriptions, but it has had positive effects on me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As well as keeping me appreciative of things that come to me serendipitously, it’s made me care more for that which I might take for granted, to savor the mundane. It’s made me write because I want to, not because I have to. Everything is a study. I must slow down. I must find the words that deepen my relationship to the world. When I approach this practice as ritual, rather than a good habit, even the act of writing falls in the spectrum of that which is sacred.

Robert Davis Hoffmann is a Tlingit poet originally from the village of Kake, fully engaged in his heritage and culture. He describes the creative impulse for his poetry and carving this way: “My desire to create comes from a drive to connect my past to the present, to redefine the traditional as present day cultural practices."
Categories: Arts & Culture

An interview with Brian Doyle, this year's North Words Keynote

49 Writers - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 5:00am

What do you love?
Kids, hawks, the smallest falcons (are kestrels not the baddest asses there are? Don’t they look like tiny linebackers?), and the way my wife Mary says a ha! when she is occasionally right about something. Also almost all music. Also grace under duress, and humility. Humility might be the coolest thing of all, the final frontier, the greatest achievement, the apartment building where wisdom is the super. Huge fan of wry humor. Also cheese and good wine. And honey.
What do you fear?
Arrogance. It bleeds so easily into blindness and cruelty and murder and violence and prisons. So many of us are in prisons of all sorts. Also I am generally afraid of cars, which are huge hurtling weapons that for some reason foment arrogance in their drivers. Why is that?
What picture of your adult self did you hold as a child?
Pro basketball player. Man. I was intent on it. I did get paid to play ball one summer in Brooklyn but I was awful. The pressure of money, man.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Since I was about age eleven. My dad was a newspaperman and my mom a gifted raconteur, and we were Irish and American and Catholic, so I was soaked in stories from the start…
How do we nurture aspiring writers?
Catch em early and get them writing jotting scribbling typing taking notes dreaming; make it clear to them that everyone and anyone is a storycatcher and writers only type faster than other storycatchers; suggest to them that once they are through their cathartic period (the me me me period), the greatest achievement is witnessing other stories. The best writing isn’t about the writer.
 What are your favorite books?
Twain’s Roughing It; Cary’s The Horse’s Mouth; Stevenson’s Kidnapped; Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet; Jan Morris’s anything; Barry Lopez’s essays and memoirs; Stegner’s essays; Peter Mathiessen’s The Snow Leopard and Men’s Lives and The Tree Where Man Was Born… all of E.B. White – Cynthia Ozick….Ian Frazier…David James Duncan…Pattiann Rogers…more wine!
Who are your literary influences?
More than anyone else, my dad Jim Doyle, a lovely clean clear writer, and Stevenson and Twain and White and Annie Dillard. Annie’s a genius. Lopez is a genius too, come to think of it.Who are your stylistic cohorts?
Probably Edward Gibbon and the stoner committee who translated the King James Bible. I love the prickly shouldery muscular style of that epic novel.
How do you define “magical realism” and what are your feelings when the term is applied to your writing?
I love Marquez as much as the next delighted soul, but I don’t think I write magic realism – I want more to suggest gently that millions more things are possible and real and happening than we know about; I am a big fan of wonder and humility. We are such an arrogant species. Anyone who is sure what’s impossible and possible in this world is a fool. Every day we discover more astounding things that we don’t understand. Who knew black holes in space mated? Who knew crows were much more adept at reasoning and toolmaking than anyone thought five years ago? Who knew humble comedians named Mandela and Tutu could save a million people from slaughter by focusing on rugby and humor and forgiveness? A lot of what fiction is, seems to me, is poking after what we don’t know but what is true – could there be a deeper true in fiction than in nominal fact? Is that what novelists are for?
What about living on the Northwest Coast informs your writing?
Sense of wonder; constant exposure to the stunning creation; regular meetings with beings far bigger and stronger than I am; a welcome lack of focus on class and money and status and a certain cheerful addiction to creativity and ideas and stories; plus I see Ursula Le Guin regularly, and who would not be a better man for that?
Do NW writers face peculiar challenges?
 Nah. The whole ‘ooo, east coast literary cabals ignore us’ plaint I find boring. We have more mud, though.
On interspecies perspectives—rats, gulls, humans—your writing moves fluidly among beings. What advice can you offer to writers facing the challenges of creating believable animal characters and relationships?
Witness and humility. They are not people in furred and feathered jackets. In general they are a lot more sensitive and alert and aware than we are. I am knocked out by how many riveting species of living things there are, and how little we admit this in our literature. Maybe all of what we call nature writing is about paying closer attention to the wealth of what is. More and more I am bored by stories of human neurosis and delighted by stories of awake and aware and alert in every form. Someday there will be a great novel starting a huckleberry bush, I bet. Maybe if we just gave bushes a book starring one of their own they would buy a lot more books.
The sixth annual North Words Writers Symposium will be held May 25-28 in Skagway. Novelist/essayist/editor and storyteller supreme Brian Doyle of Portland, Oregon (Mink River, The Plover, Martin Marten, and the forthcoming Chicago) will be the 2016 keynote author. He will be joined by Alaskan authors Kim Heacox, Eowyn Ivey, Heather Lende, Lynn Schooler, and Emily Wall. For more information and to register go to http://nwwriterss.com/

Categories: Arts & Culture

Springtime: Beginnings and Change

49 Writers - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 5:00am
We Alaskans tune into weather, seasons, subtle shifts in light, and most recently, the dramatic arrival of Spring. Change is in the air – you can smell, see, and feel it. What will you do with your extra hours of light?
Here at 49 Writers, summer is a time to plan, reflect on our past year, and map out fall programs. It’s a natural time for change.
Poet and 49 Writers Executive Director Erin Coughlin Hollowell has garnered just about every award/grant that Alaska offers. She’s done an excellent job as the administrator of our organization. First and foremost, she’s a poet and needs time to write. We’re sad to announce Erin is stepping down from her position so she can write more but look forward to reading her new work.
Thank you, Erin, for sharing your talent with us, and for working with us over many weeks to ensure a positive transition! We wish you the best as a writer and in your new part-time job (fewer hours than shepherding an ever-growing, state-wide organization) at Storyknife – a new writer's retreat for women in Homer.
We've decided to appoint Jeremy Pataky, current Board President and founding board member, as Interim Executive Director of 49 Writers. Along with being a published poet and writer, Jeremy earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Foraker Group. He served as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountains Center for nearly five years, where he led a major, successful capital campaign, forged enduring partnerships, established new programs, and grew the budget and staff.
Jeremy has worked as a consultant for the last few years and has coordinated the Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program since 2013. We're thrilled to have him at the helm during this transition period. Jeremy will assume his new role on May 1st when he steps down from his current board position. Stay tuned for exciting opportunities to help grow the literary arts in Alaska!
Speaking of change, have you heard about the new instructor for 49 Writers’ Tutka Bay Writers Retreat? Due to the birth of his first child, Rick Moody won’t be able to travel this summer. Lucky for us, Lucky for us, American Indian and American Book Award winner Debra Magpie Earling will lead this year’s retreat. Our retreats are held at Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge, one of a handful of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Early bird registration is open until May 1. 
Happy Spring!
Joan Pardes, Juneau
49 Writers Board Member  
Categories: Arts & Culture

Calling All Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 3:37pm

Invitational design specifications for the “patchwork quilt” or “Granny Square” Chilkat/Ravenstail Robe Project — Collaborative community design concept by Clarissa Rizal; Canoe Community concept by Suzi Vaara Williams

Dear Northwest Coast Chilkat and Ravenstail Weavers:

I invite you to participate in a very unique project which will provide a Chilkat/Ravenstail ceremonial robe to be worn by a dignitary of a hosting community for NWC Canoe Gatherings and/or also to be worn in ceremony during the maiden launch of a traditional dugout canoe.  Imagine this robe will be worn for many generations of canoe gatherings and maiden voyages!  When the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn are very excited about this project.

If you are interested in participating and donating your time to weave a 5″ x 5″ square, the above illustration provides you some of the specifications.  However, just in case you cannot read my handwriting, and you want more information because you’d really like to commit, I will also reiterate the specs herein as follows:

Each weaver is requested to weave a 5″ x 5″ square in Chilkat and/or Ravenstail style to donate as part of a community ceremonial robe.

Project:  A  NWC Weavers’ Invitational  to create a collaborative and unique Chilkat/Ravenstail robe for the NWC communities who host Canoe Gatherings and/or are launching the maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe in Washington State, British Columbia, Southeast Alaska and Yukon Territory.

Who is Invited:  This invitational is open to all Indigenous Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers representing all the distinctive tribes of the Northwest Coast.  The invitational is also open to non-Indigenous weavers who are clan members of a NWC tribe via adoption and/or marriage.  Weavers of all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, are invited to contribute!  There are only 54 sections on this unique, one-of-a-kind, Chilkat/Ravenstail robe; if you want to be a part of this historical event, jump in now while you can and commit via email, text or Facebook to Clarissa Rizal by May 1, 2016!   Email address:  clarissa@clarissarizal.com   or text her at:  (970)903-8386   or Facebook:  Clarissa Rizal

Limited number of weavers:  There will be 54 5-inch squares which = 54 separate weavers.  45 of the 54 squares will have 1″ fringe at the bottom.  9 of the 54 squares will have 18″ fringe; these 9 squares will be placed at the very bottom edge of the robe.  If you want to be one of the 9 squares with the 18″ fringe, let me know.  Please refer to the illustration for visual image.  The borders of the entire robe will be woven by Clarissa Rizal after she has laid out the entire 54 squares and sewn them together.  Total approximately measurements of the robe will be 68″ wide x 56″ high (includes fringe)

The Warp:  To keep the thickness and body of the robe consistent, use only Chilkat warp (w/bark), natural color and spun to size 10 e.p.i.

The Weft:  merino or mountain goat wool, size 2/6 fingering weight, in any shades of the traditional colors of black, natural, yellow and blue

The Design:  Weave anything to do with the canoe world; suggestions are to weave symbols of nature, animals, mankind (i.e. mountains, ocean, rivers, lakes, canoes, paddles, faces, claws (though no human hands:  Instead of four fingers, weave three fingers and a thumb)

In addition with your weaving, please provide two things:  1) a brief 100-word max Bio in Word Document and, 2) a photo of yourself with your weaving either finished or in progress  (200 d.p.i./5″ x 7″)

DEADLINE to commit:  May 1, 2016  Email Clarissa with your commitment (suggestions, etc. are welcome too, especially at this time):  clarissa@clarissarizal.com or text her:  970-903-8386 (yes, area code is 970)

DEADLINE for completion:  Postmarked by July 15, 2016   Remember:  Along with your weaving, please include the brief bio and a photo of you and your weaving. (see specs above) If you complete your weaving by the dates of “Celebration” and you are in Juneau, you may hand-deliver your weaving to Clarissa anytime during the month of June, otherwise mail your weaving insured to Clarissa’s address:

Clarissa Rizal, 40 East Cameron St #207, Tulsa, OK   74103

 

“TOUR” SCHEDULE (for the robe) 2016:  

1).  Hoonah, Alaska:  Master carver of dugout canoes, Wayne Price from Haines, Alaska is carving two dugout canoes for the Hoonah Indian Association.  The opening ceremonies will be the maiden voyage of both canoes from Hoonah to Glacier Bay for the dedication of the recently built longhouse on the shores of Glacier Bay on Wednesday, August 24th.

2).  Sitka, Alaska:  Master carver Steve Brown and the Gallanin Brothers are carving a dugout in Sitka, Alaska.

3).  Vancouver, B.C.:  Robe will be part of an exhibit for four months at Sho Sho Esquiro and Clarissa Rizal’s exhibit called “Worth Our Wait In Gold” at the Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., opening Tuesday, October 18th

If you have any information on definite dates for canoe gatherings and maiden voyage of a traditional dugout canoe, please contact Clarissa or Evergreen Longhouse in Olympia, Washington.

NAME OF THIS ROBE:   “Weavers Across the Water” — Thank you, Catrina Mitchell…!

THE ROBE’S HOME:   As I mentioned above, when the robe is not traveling, it will be housed in its own private, glass case in the new “Weavers’ Studio” at the Evergreen Longhouse campus in Olympia, Washington State.  Longhouse Executive Director Tina Kuckkhan-Miller, and Assistant Director Laura Grabhorn will be the travel coordinator’s for this special robe.

SUGGESTIONS, COMMENTS, IDEAS, ETC.:  I encourage and solicit your input.  Please be brave and just communicate with me; no worries.  AND if you want to partake, this is “our” robe! 

How did this idea sprout?  Well you gotta know about Suzi and Clarissa chats:  This project was an idea which stemmed from a chat between Suzi Vaara Williams and I on March 4th.  I mentioned that I  kept seeing everything in “Chilkat”; and Suzi was talking about all the knitting and weaving projects she has got going and asked if I remembered the crocheted “Granny Square” blankets from the 60’s.  Immediately instead of crocheted colors of yarn, I saw a different kind of “Granny Square” blanket — I saw the Chilkat and Ravenstail woven ceremonial blanket!  And when I exclaimed to Suzi my vision, right away she added with glee:  “Oh, oh, ohhhh!  And the robe will be worn during the canoe gatherings up and down the coast!”

We hope you join us in creating this one-of-a-kind ceremonial robe woven by present-day weavers for our present-day canoe gatherings and traditional dugout canoe maiden launches.  This robe will travel for many generations.  Please represent your community and be a part of this historical project.  We appreciate your time, energy and talent!  Truly, Gunalcheesh!

Categories: Arts & Culture

Weekly Roundup of Writing Opportunities for April 15

49 Writers - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 7:00am
2016 Class Schedule
There is still time to register for a great class offered next week in Juneau.
Information about our classes and workshops, description, details, and registration on our website.  Feel free to contact us at 49writers@gmail.com if you have any questions.
JuneauSet Your Fiction on Fire taught by Kim HeacoxApril 18, 6-9pm
EVENTS IN ANCHORAGE
Poetry ParleyWednesday, April 20 at 7:30 pm at the Writer's BlockApril is National Poetry Month and Poetry Parley participants will feature local poets, Peter Porco and Judith Stoll reading their own work.  Following this, with others, they will present the work of poets from China's T'ang Dynasty. This is a free event at The Writer's Block, 3956 Spenard Road, Anchorage, AK.  For more information, email poetryparley@gmail.com 
Savor the Rising Words Poetry Broadside Sale and ReadingSupport Poetry in Alaska! Buy a Broadside!
All of the poets and artists featured in the exhibit have donated their work as a fundraiser for 49 Writers, an organization that supports writing in Alaska through programs and educational opportunities across the state. Each piece is for sale for $35.00 and may be purchased by contacting Barbara at 301-5362.
Attend the ReadingSeveral of the featured poets will be reading their work at the Great Harvest Bread Company on Tuesday, April 19, from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM. The program is free, the public is welcome, and refreshments will be served. Please join us!
Events at the UAA Bookstore
Saturday, April 16 from 1:00pm-3:00pm
Author Kim Heacox presents Jimmy Bluefeather
Kim Heacox’ first novel, Jimmy Bluefeather, has received wide acclaim and is the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award winner.According to Carl Safina, (58 Books Recommended by Ted Speakers),   “This brilliant first novel contains hundreds of sentences that read like sheer poetry. The writing is incredibly beautiful. Almost every paragraph gifts us some stunning turn of phrase that made me stop and savor not only the words but also the wisdom.”
Kim Heacox is also the author of numerous books including John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire and Rhythm of the Wild. Everyone is encouraged to come and hear the best of Alaska literature from a great Alaskan author.
There is free parking at UAA on Saturdays.
Tuesday, April 19 from 5:00pm-7:00pmMiranda Forner presents Can I Do This, an Experiment in Independence
Miranda Forner presents Can I Do This, a collection of essays covering her experiences becoming an independent, single mother in Alaska.  She is a Cub Scout Den Leader and has recently graduated UAA with a major in English and a minor in creative Writing. 
There is free parking for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot, and Sports Campus West Lot. 
Wednesday, April 20 from 5:00pm-7:00pmDeirdre Bryan presents The 1916 Easter Uprising
In a call for the formation of the Irish Republic and independence from the United Kingdom almost 500 people were killed in the Easter Rising of 1916.  At this event, historian Deirdre Bryan discusses the importance of the 1916 Easter Uprising and its significance today.Deirdre Bryan has lived in Ireland, England and the US.  She received her PhD in Irish History from Boston College and currently teaches in the History Department at UAA.
As a historical researcher in Ireland, Deirdre Bryan has contributed more than 70 articles to the Dictionary of Irish Biography (2009, Cambridge University Press) and conducted historical research on behalf of the Irish government, public and private organizations and individuals.
There is free parking for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot , Sports Campus West Lot. 
Saturday, April 23 from 1:00pm-3:00pm
Celebrating Shakespeare: Four Hundred Years On
English professors Toby Widdicombe and Sharon Emmerichs, UAA students and staff share favorite sonnets.This literary tribute to Shakespeare commemorates the 400 year anniversary of his death on April 23, 1616.  
Everyone is encouraged to come.
There is free parking at UAA on Saturdays.
Thursday, April 21 from 5:00pm-7:00pmCecilia “Pudge” Kleinkauf presents Rookie No More:  Flyfishing Novice from a Pro
The book, Rookie No More is a lifesaver for novice fly fishers who are struggling with unanswered questions about various aspects of flyfishing. Cecilia "Pudge" Kleinkauf has been an Alaskan since 1969.   Her company, Women's Flyfishing, has taught women how to fly fish and has taken them on guided trips throughout Alaska to find the best fishing for salmon, trout, char, Arctic grayling, and other species.  Her website http://www.womensflyfishing.net  is a leading resource for fly fishing enthusiasts.There is free parking for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot, and Sports Campus West Lot. 
Local Library Events
Anchorage Public Library's Teen Writing Societyneeds our help!
Loussac Library's Teen Writing Society (TWS) is a club for teen writers. They are looking for reliable adults to lead their meetings and provide writing prompts or other activities. 49 Writers member Lynn Lovegreen has volunteered to lead the April meetings and help find leaders for the future.
One idea is to have different adult writers volunteer to take each month, so the teens benefit from seeing different writing types and styles. Or, if someone would like to help longer-term, that is another possibility. At this point, meetings are 6-7:30 pm on the second and fourth Wednesdays, but there is some room for flexibility. 
Please contact Lynn Lovegreen at lynnlovegreen@gmail.com or teen librarian Jon P. Ebron at EbronJP@ci.anchorage.ak.us if you are interested or would like more information.
Book Signings
EVENTS AROUND ALASKA
SOUTHCENTRAL, MAT-SU, KENAI PENINSULA
The Copper Basin will welcome State Writer Laureate Frank Soos to our communities at the end of April. Frank will meet with a local bookclub and students at Kenny Lake and Glennallen Schools. Local writers are invited to Writers' Workshops at the Kenny Lake Library on Thursday, April 28, from 1 to 4 pm and at the Copper Basin Senior Citizen log cabin in Glennallen on Friday, April 29 from 1 to 4. Frank will present a program, "An Alaska Writers Sampler," at the Kenny Lake Community Hall on Thursday evening, April 28, at 6 pm. The public is also invited to a reading of Frank Soos' work on Friday night, April 29, at the Carriage House in Gakona. Local musicians will chime in for the reading event, and snacks and coffee and tea will be provided. Come join us! For more information, contact Mary Odden 822-3727 or fiddletunes@hotmail.com
As part of the Machetanz Arts Festival at the Mat-Su Collegeon June 4 and 5, writing workshops will be offered.To learn more about the classes and to register: http://register.asapconnected.com/Courses.aspx?CourseGroupID=14213
Saturday, June 4How Shall I Begin?: Starting Your Piece with a Bang taught by Alyse KnorrFinding Yourself in a Poem taught by Julie LeMayThe Sphere of Writing taught by Don Rearden
Sunday, June 5Capturing Character The Mechanics of Writing Great Characters in Fiction and Non-Fiction taught by Martha AmorePlaying with Description taught by Lynn LovegreenWalking the Line taught by Susanna Mishler
There is also a panel discussion at the end of each day, featuring the writers who’ve taught during that day.
SOUTHEAST
Woosh Kinaadeiyí Spoken Word WorkshopSunday, April 17th, 1-4pm, at Kindred Post (145 South Franklin)
The second Spoken Word Workshop of the season is right around the corner! 
Based on participant feedback, this month's workshop (taught by Christy NaMee EriksenDee DeRego, and Austin Naawéiyaa Tagaban) will be especially focused towards PERFORMANCE. So if you've been wanting a little more guidance or practice on getting your work off the page, this will be a great workshop for you. While we'll be doing a little bit of writing, we also encourage you to bring work that's already written that you may want to practice for the stage. 
As always we're committed to providing a supportive, inclusive environment for all, so no matter who you are or where you are at in your spoken word/poetry experience, we hope you will join us.
Please email us to RSVP if you can! (It saves your spot and also helps us plan!) You are encouraged to pay $10-$25 as you can.  
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WRITERS
Seeking Writers and Photographers for New Alaska Foodie MagazineEdible Alaska, a new magazine focused on food culture and practices in Alaska, will hit the newsstands in June. Currently they are getting ready to launch our website with lots of new content. Thus, they are looking for writers, photographers, recipe writers, and local chefs (who want to be a resource to them). 
Article pitches should fall (loosely) into the categories: eat, drink, and food for thought.  Web articles will be between 250-400 words and will pay about $50 per piece and an additional $25 for an accompanying photograph.  The rate is somewhat negotiable for more experienced writers/photographers and for longer pieces. 
They are looking for original recipes that can include your standard recipe and a "how-to" video. They are not looking for the usual story about Midnight Sun Brewery or well-known restaurant reviews.  They are looking to expand what people know and think about food (and food culture) in Alaska as well as really create an archive of food practices throughout the state (both urban and rural).
Please email your pitch to bree@edibleak.com with the subject line: Edible Article Pitch.  Please include in your pitch sample writing clips, if you have any. 
The magazine is particularly interested in recruiting writers from outside of Anchorage and writers who live in rural/bush areas of the state.  Don't let a lack of writing experience deter you from pitching a story, they are interested in cultivating new writers who have great stories to share.”
CONFERENCES, AWARDS, RETREATS & RESIDENCIES
The fifteenth Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference will be held on June 10-14 in Homer. This year's keynote is Pulitzer Prize winning, National Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, who will be joined by Miriam Altshuler (agent), Dan Beachy-Quick, Richard Chiappone, Jennine Capó Crucet, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Forrest Gander, Lee Goodman, Richard Hoffman, Erin Coughlin Hollowell, Sarah Leavitt, Nancy Lord, Jane Rosenman (editor), Peggy Shumaker, Sherry Simpson, Frank Soos, and David Stevenson. For more information and to register go to the website
Registration now open to the 2016 Tutka Bay Writers Retreat, which will take place on September 9-11, 2016 at the Tutka Bay Lodge. Faculty instructor award-winning writer Debra Magpie Earling will lead fiction writers in an in-depth writing workshop. There will be much in-class writing, and the overall atmosphere will stick close to supportiveness, collegiality, and constructive improvement. The engaged student will emerge with improved techniques for further work. Early registration fee is $600 for members and $650 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.49writingcenter.org/Retreats%26Events/retreats.php.
Storyknife Writers Retreat is open for submissions for its inaugural Storyknife Fellow. We just can't wait for all six proposed cabin and main house to be built, so the Board of Directors of Storyknife is beginning with a single Storyknife Fellow who will live in the beautifully appointed cabin on the property. Women writers (over 21) can apply for a 2 week to 4 week residency during the month of September 2016. The successful candidate(s) will receive a $250 per week stipend at the end of their residency. This money can be used to cover the costs of travel, food, and a rental car if the resident is from out of the drivable area. The resident will need to purchase and prepare their own meals, with the exception of a welcome dinner and a farewell dinner, at the beginning and end of their stay. More information about the residency at https://storyknife.organd apply at https://storyknifewritersretreat.submittable.com/submit.
The sixth annual North Words Writers Symposium will be held May 25-28 in Skagway. Novelist/essayist/editor and storyteller supreme Brian Doyle of Portland, Oregon (Mink RiverThe PloverMartin Marten, and the forthcoming Chicago) will be the 2016 keynote author. He will be joined by Alaskan authors Kim Heacox, Eowyn Ivey, Heather Lende, Lynn Schooler, John Straley, and Emily Wall. For more information and to register go to http://nwwriterss.com/
360 North will start the 2015-16 season of Writers’ Showcase. All Alaska writers are invited to submit fiction and nonfiction pieces. Stories are read before a live studio audience by professional actors, and later broadcast throughout Alaska on statewide public TV and radio. Stories should be about 10 minutes long when read aloud. Profanity will need to be edited for broadcast.SUBMISSION DEADLINE              RECORDING DATEApril 25, 2016                                    June 2, 2016Submit to arts [at] ktoo [dot] org.For questions contact Scott Burton
Arts, Culture and Music Producer at 907.463.6473
Alaska magazine is seeking pitches from new and established writers. We are a publication for Alaska enthusiasts and need a wide variety of articles. The best section to break into the magazine is KtoB (formerly Ketchikan to Barrow), and includes everything from cool job profiles to End of the Trail obituaries to a short write up about an Alaska-made product. We’d also like to see queries about culture, history, nature, interviews with Alaskans and feature articles ideas. Review recent hard copy issues of Alaska magazine and visit www.alaskamagazine.com for more about us, and then send short, descriptive pitches to freelance contributing editor Susan Sommer at sbsommer@mtaonline.net.
13 Chairs Literary Journal, a new literary journal publishing short stories and poetry from new and emerging authors, seeks submissions and volunteers. They are currently composing their flagship issue, straight out of JBER, AK. To learn more, and to submit, email info@13chairs.com or visit 13chairs.com.
Thank You for Your Support!Over 1,000 people receive these newsletters. Many of them are members of 49 Writers, knowing that their membership helps support all of the workshops, author tours, CrossCurrents events, readings, blog posts, and craft talks. Won't you join them by becoming a member?Join Us
49 Writers Volunteer Seta
Have news or events you'd like to see listed here? Email details to 49roundup (at) gmail.com. Your message must be received by noon on the Thursday before the roundup is scheduled to run. Unless your event falls in the "Opportunities" category, it should occur no more than 30 days from wen we receive your email.
Categories: Arts & Culture

The “Chilkat Mask”

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 12:18pm

“Chilkat Mask” in shades of blue — Clarissa Rizal — 2016

During my “spring break”, for the first time ever, I actually took a real spring break, like an actual, much-needed vacation. During the vacation I hugged and played with my grandchildren, visited my kids, romped around the desert with my friend Rene, and in between when nobody was looking, I wove this Chilkat Mask!  Yep, it can be worn as an actual mask.  I wove it with the same shades of blue weft yarns I dyed a couple of years ago and I am using the main bulk of the blue yarns for my most recent Chilkat robe called “Egyptian Thunderbird.”  This mask will be in an exhibit  of Northwest Coast Native masks at the Stonington Gallery in Seattle, Washington opening Thursday, June 2nd.  Most of the masks at this show will be in carved wood, or in jewelry, and I doubt very much there will be a mask like this one that is woven; we’ll see.  My “Chilkat Mask” may be the first of its kind, I don’t know.  Come on down to the Stonington and let’s see!  I’ll be there!

cloth-covered wires were inserted, hanging down with the warp, only in the central part of the Chilkat mask …this is to give the mask some structure with flexible capabilities to form to any human face — “Chilkat Mask” by Clarissa Rizal — 2016

 

Categories: Arts & Culture

“Chilkat Storyteller” Doll

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 11:34am

“Chilkat Storyteller” soft sculpture doll recently completed by Clarissa Rizal — copyright 2016

My “Chilkat Storyteller” is my donation for an exhibit of contemporary Alaska Native art opening in France on June 24th.  It was inspired by the pueblo storyteller dolls made of their local clay.  The first contemporary storyteller was made by Helen Cordero of the Cochiti Pueblo in 1964 in honor of her grandfather, who was a tribal storyteller.  It is basically a figure of a storyteller, usually a man or a woman and always with its mouth open.  It is surrounded by figurines of children (and sometimes other things) which represent those who are listening to the storyteller.

back view of “Chilkat Storyteller” wearing miniature Ravenstail/Chilkat robe — by Clarissa Rizal — copyright 2016

My “Chilkat Storyteller” is a self-portrait with my 7 grandchildren.  Though instead of clay figurines, the main body of the doll is made with shreds of yellow cedar bark interior with black felted merino wool exterior.  She sits approximately 7″ high and wears a miniature Ravenstail/Chilkat robe.  All 7 of her grandchildren are felted wool in our traditional colors of black, natural, yellow and blue.  Made with lots of love, I laughed while creating each figurine knowing the personality of each child, affectionately I called out my knick names while making each:

* The black one on bottom right is the oldest, SikiKwaan  (Lily’s oldest daughter); very thoughtful, protective one

*  The blue one on top right is second oldest, Andoopoo (Kahlil’s daughter); the adventurer outdoors gal

*  The white one on the bottom left is third oldest, Ashuwa (Ursala’s oldest daughter); kind, caretaking artist

*  The yellow one on the left arm is fourth, Ajuju (Lily’s 2nd child; only grandson); the compassionate one

*  The white one on top of the head, Wasichu (Lily’s adopted child); spirits rebellious

*  The blue one on bottom left, Bulleit (Ursala’s youngest); no fear, dare devil innocence

*  The yellow one on bottom right, OneFootOneKnee or Inipi (Lily’s youngest); quiet, independent sweetness

top view looking down at “Chilkat Storyteller” doll by Clarissa Rizal — copyright 2016

Categories: Arts & Culture
 

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