Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘Big Sur’

Writing for Our Lives at Esalen

Writing for Our Lives at Esalen
with Ellen Bass
November 15 – 17, 2013
Esalen, Big Sur, CA

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Esalen. The wonder of the place itself, 120 acres of fertile land carved out between mountain and ocean, blessed by a cascading canyon stream and hot mineral springs gushing out of a seaside cliff. There is the salty Big Sur air on an early morning in January, the late afternoon sun slipping into the Pacific, the riot of midnight stars. There are nights so clear the Milky Way can light your walk along the darkened garden path. And always there is the sound of the sea.

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
—Martha Graham

This workshop will help keep the channels open. It will be an inspiring environment in which to write, share our work, and receive supportive feedback. We’ll help each other to become clearer, go deeper, express our feelings and ideas more powerfully.

We will evade, elude, and distract the censors that silence or limit us. We’ll approach our experience from new angles to find the story or poem within the events of our lives. We’ll question the stories we think are true and experience the power of not-knowing and discovery.

If you want to encounter more truth in your poems and stories, if you want to tell that truth in the most beautiful way possible, if you want to craft work that reflects the inextricable marriage of truth and beauty, love and death, the luminous and the ordinary, please join us for this inspiring workshop.

Ellen will talk about the craft of writing (poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction) and we’ll have time to write and share our work.

From beginners to experienced, all writers are welcome. Whether you are interested in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or journal writing, this workshop will provide an opportunity to explore and expand your writing world.

Esalen fees cover tuition, food and lodging and vary according to accommodations—ranging from $405 (for sleeping bag space) to $730 (and more for single or premium rooms). All arrangements and registration must be made directly with Esalen.

Please register directly with Esalen at 831-667-3005 or at http://www.esalen.org

jpeg-1ELLEN BASS has a new poetry book Like A Beggar, forthcoming from Copper Canyon in 2014. Her previous books are The Human Line, which was named a Notable Book by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mules of Love, which won the Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Progressive, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Sun and many other journals. Among her awards for poetry are a Pushcart Prize, the Elliston Book Award, The Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod/Hardman, the Larry Levis Prize from Missouri Review, and the New Letters Prize. She is part of the core faculty of the MFA writing program at Pacific University. ellenbass.com

Writing and Knowing

Writing and Knowing

9th Annual Poetry Workshop
with Dorianne Laux, Joe Miller and Ellen Bass

August 4-9, 2013
Esalen, Big Sur
California

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There is a world inside each of us that we know better than anything else, and a world outside of us that calls for our attention. Our subject matter is always right with us. The trick is to find out what we know, challenge what we know, own what we know, and then give it away in language.

We will write poems, share our writing, and hear what our work touches in others. We’ll also read model poems by contemporary poets and discuss aspects of the craft. But mainly this will be a writing retreat—time to explore and create in a supportive community. Though the focus is on poetry, prose writers who want to enrich their language will find it a fertile environment.

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy . . . that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist… It is not your business to determine how good it is. . . . It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”—Martha Graham

The focus of this workshop is on generating new poems. Dorianne, Joe, and Ellen will each give a talk on craft to help us extend our skills and inspire our writing. Although the emphasis is on poetry, this workshop is open to prose writers too. Rich, textured, evocative language is the province of all writers, so this workshop will be applicable to writers of fiction and memoir as well.

Please join us if:

*You’ve hit a plateau in your writing and want to break through to the next level.

*You’re just beginning and want to get started with supportive teachers.

*You’re an experienced writer and just want a chance to learn more from the best.

*You’re in a dry spell, due to lack of inspiration or time.

*You love to write and want a gorgeous, inspiring retreat.

Lastly, there’s Esalen itself. If you’ve been to Esalen before, you already know it’s one of the most magnificent places on the planet. If you haven’t, don’t postpone it. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and deeply nourishing.

Esalen fees cover tuition, food and lodging and vary according to accommodations–ranging from $650 to $1250 (and more for single or premium rooms). The least expensive rate is for sleeping bag space which can be very comfortable, but it’s limited, so you need to sign up for it early. Some work-scholarship assistance is available, as well as small prepayment discounts and senior discounts.

All arrangements and registration must be made directly with Esalen. Please call Esalen at 831-667-3005 or visit www.esalen.org.

If you have questions about the content or structure of the workshop itself, please email <a href="Ellen Bass “>Ellen.

ELLEN BASS‘s poetry includes Like A Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), which was named a Notable Book by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mules of Love (BOA, 2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday, 1973). Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Progressive, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Sun and many other journals. Last year she was featured on the cover of American Poetry Review. Among her awards for poetry are a Pushcart Prize, the Elliston Book Award, The Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod/Hardman, the Larry Levis Prize from Missouri Review, and the New Letters Prize. She is part of the core faculty of the MFA writing program at Pacific University. ellenbass.com

DORIANNE LAUX’s most recent books of poems are The Book of Men, winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize, and Facts about the Moon, recipient of the Oregon Book Award and short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Laux is also author of Awake, What We Carry, finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and Smoke. Her work has received two “Best American Poetry” Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2001, she was invited by late poet laureate Stanley Kunitz to read at the Library of Congress. She teaches poetry and directs the MFA program at North Carolina State University and she is founding faculty at Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA Program. doriannelaux.com

JOSEPH MILLAR grew up in western Pennsylvania and was educated at Penn State and the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned an MA in poetry writing. He worked as a commercial fisherman and telephone repairman for more than 25 years, and his accessible narrative poems often take working life as a means of engaging themes of class, family, and romantic love. Millar is the author of three full poetry collections: Blue Rust, Fortune, and Overtime, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. He has received grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio program The Writer’s Almanac, and has won a Pushcart Prize. He has taught at Pacific University’s low residency MFA and Oregon State University and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, poet Dorianne Laux. josephmillar.org

English Tea & High Sierras

There was a little girl of six, who emigrated from England to New England over thirty five years ago and fell in love with nature and the great outdoors. Now a grown woman, she is still madly in love with the wilderness and is leading other women on adventures that combine yoga, hiking, white-water rafting, cross-country skiing and/or snow-shoeing at Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, Sequoia National Park, Gold Mountain, Idaho and Todos Santos, Mexico. Her name is Belinda Ordonez and her company is aptly called Wild Moon Yoga.

Belinda says, “I remember roaming the woods surrounding our home in Connecticut and the small wonders happening all around me; the sounds of bird’s chirping, deer graciously leaping through the trees and the beautiful chorus of crickets. Something magical happens every time I step into the wilderness. It is the place where my heart expands. There is an immense sense of freedom and potential.”

Intertwined with her pull towards nature was Ms. Ordonez attraction to yoga, which she also started at a young age. She was 15 years old when she recalls coming across a book titled “Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan”. She used that book to develop a daily practice as a teenager and as an adult has trained in the Ashtanga style of yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She has studied under some of his top students and sought out many yoga teachers around the world.

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to yoke or bind and is often translated in English as “union”. Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient form of yoga which uses vinyasas (movements) to link postures (poses) and breath, to form sequences. Ashtanga is a Sanskrit term which means “eight limbed” or “eightfold path” to self-understanding.

Her trips combing wilderness travel and yoga usually fill up quickly, as she only takes a small number per outing, but only women need apply. “Women need an outlet to help them break free of their daily routines to nurture themselves,” Belinda explains. “Many women I meet are overworked, overloaded and exhausted from work, responsibilities and caring for others. Something very precious and nurturing happens when women get together. I remember witnessing one woman being moved to tears by the beauty of an incredible rainbow in Yosemite National Park and many others reconnecting with mother earth and feeling her magic.” Anga Gonzales, who has taken several trip with Ms. Ordonez adds, “Belinda is very reassuring and grounded. She allowed a person like me to relax and play.”

Lucy McCullough went on a Wild Moon Yoga trip to Yosemite National Park that included snowshoeing, yoga and meditation. She says, “The memory of that full moon lighting up the snow on those granite peaks took my breath away.” Another participant, Donna Burr, exclaims, “It was an amazing weekend trekking into the heart of Big Sur. Belinda’s knowledge and confidence on the trail helped to make the trip enjoyable and memorable. Her love and enthusiasm for nature and all its splendor is certainly contagious.”

The trips that Ms. Ordonez arranges often involve transportation and always include accommodations, park entrance and equipment fees, guide, yoga/mediation classes, gourmet meals and snacks. The majority are 2 to 4 day excursions that are planned throughout the year. The costs are reasonable and everything possible is done to accommodate special needs and circumstances. She says her yoga and meditation instruction are fit for any level of experience and none of the excursions are overly strenuous or designed for advanced hikers. A few of the professions represented by her travelers are teachers, therapists, business owners and nurses from every age group.

When it comes to life experience, Ms. Ordonez has been around the block a few times. She is not a new babe in the woods who suddenly decided to take women into the wilderness and bay at the moon. She holds a degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz; has advanced training in wilderness first aid and is a certified yoga instructor. Her background includes her work as a massage therapist, sports medicine, high school coach, career counselor and human resources. For over six years she worked with people living with life-threatening illness at a local hospice.

It appears that there is nothing that Belinda loves more (besides her dogs Max and Maya) than leading women up mountain tops, through valleys, down rivers and in meadows to practice yoga, mediation and even the occasional English High Tea. You can take a little girl out of Yorkshire England, but evidently not entirely remove her British sensibilities. Belinda laughs, “Even though I’ve lived and traveled throughout the world and lived in America most of my adult life, I still enjoy a spot of tea”.

Another former Brit, Stephanie Sandish, who joined in one of Belinda’s retreats in Sandpoint, Idaho, sums up her experience stating, “I found peace in the wilderness, healing in the holiness of nature and new found friends.”

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