KIRA Boutique Writing Retreat
The 2019 KIRA Boutique Writing Retreat will take place from October 6-12 at KIRA (picture and details below) just outside Kingsbrae Gardens in the beautiful New Brunswick town of St. Andrews. More information is available from email@example.com
The KIRA Boutique Writing Retreat, aka The Art of Writing, is unique in that it concentrates on Creativity: how we channel it, how we express it, and how it changes us. Geoff Slater (artist and line painter) and Roger Moore (award winning teacher, poet, and short story writer) concentrate on different forms of creativity with, in addition to the free time at the retreat, workshops on drawing and painting (Geoff) and poetry and prose (Roger). The morning talks and the evening readings allow each individual to explore themselves and their creativity in a unique setting.
Attendance is limited to five residents. This allows us to offer one on one time with each of the instructors if and when it is needed.
King-fisher, wounded wing, Fisher-King
ruling a shallow lake, water-logged,
beaver-gnawed trees, trunks and branches
rotting under water, green growth bearded
upon them, lily-padded the pond,
transformed year after year, to meadows, silt
gathering, filling in smaller channels,
only the mainstream flickers, flows beneath
freckled sunshine. Change hides in plain sight.
All things wither, perish. Cherish this changing,
these modified moods, sun and cloud, the land
recovering, coming back to fertility.
Swift the flight of the swallow’s low dip,
mottled the osprey, aloft in her nest.
King-fisher flying, return of the King.
(after Rabelais and his many experiments with goose down and geese)
Covered in concrete
a conquering hero
stands in the yard.
Pigeons feed on scattered breadcrumbs.
Squabs squat on the statue’s head.
They gift his shoulders with the fresh
white lime of guano,
as dry as dandruff.
Is this what all monkeys will become,
statues in a square, pooped on by pigeons?
The statue stretches out a hand,
clutches at a passing pigeon,
thrusts it head first between his legs,
strains hard, then wipes his …
Monkey takes the hint,
dons an anonymous grey
suit of medieval armor,
A coming together of cultures,
these three statues,
forming an equilateral triangle,
all things being equal.
Three founding cultures:
English, French, Indigenous,
in alphabetical order.
They stand face to face to face,
silhouetted in profile,
sharing positive and negative space.
At the center of their union,
at the still point where nothing moves,
a living, breathing space,
that takes away your breath.
When you breathe again,
you take in air
and light and sun and
Faith runs tingling round your body,
hand in hand with joy and life
and love reborn.
17 June 2017
The sandman brings sand
to put in the sandwiches
we have packed for the beach.
It’s as coarse and fierce as salt
flowing through an hourglass,
or red sand in an egg-timer,
not clockwork and wound,
but the sort you turn upside
down. Sand: it counts each
minute of each day, turns
minutes into hours, hours
into days, sands the stone
block of our lives, like a sculptor,
into smaller, more manageable
shapes and chunks. Sand sticks
to our clothes, makes us wash
our hands and brush ourselves
thoroughly before we sit down
to eat the sand that has sneaked
into the lunch-time sandwiches
we brought to nibble on the sands.
Comment: This is another example of the effects of a rewrite that takes place in a different time and place. The original of this poem appeared in the blog on my father’s birthday, 17 May 2017. Sandman 1 can be see by clicking on the title. A quick comparison shows how the themes have changed an meaning has been deepened in the later version, Sandman 2, published above. I am intrigued by the differences caused by a change of time and place. There is room for still more development in this poem. It will be un to see Sandman 3, if it evolves further.
15 June 2017
Eyeless in Kingsbrae
There’s warmth in a color,
and heat’s visible to the touch.
Shocking pink has a different
feel beneath the fingers,
and it has no name that you
and I, sighted, would ever know.
They push me, blindfolded,
around the garden. Gravel’s
crunch beneath the wheels
sharpens my inability to know,
to be sure of shadows and shapes
that are no longer there.
The ones who push me talk
and tell but cannot show.
How could they hold a rain
-bow before my eyes or
explain those lights that
crisp and crackle in the sky,
a visible Niagara Falls
with fairy lights
dancing up and down?
And those glorious choirs,
angel voices rising, falling,
grasping my eye-lashes,
trying to pry my eye-lids open.
Oh song of songs, and the singer
deaf to his own sublimity.
Oh dealer of false cards,
fingerless pianist, and dancer
shuffling on amputated stumps.
Elise in her Studio
6 June 2017
Last night, Elise Muller led the second of our after supper artistic discussions. She told how her grandmother had been a sculptor, but had never talked to her directly about stone sculpting. Later, when at art school, Elise took a course on stone carving and knew immediately that it was what she wanted to do. Something appealed to her and she was hooked.
Elise then showed us a series of photographs that displayed her sculptures in chronological order. She talked about each one individually, the stone from which it was carved, the manner in which she carved, and the effects she was trying to achieve. Movement interested her and she was trying to sculpt a series of movements into her stonework. Her early sculptures featured different forms of movement, fathers and mothers carrying their children, a woman wading, and so on. At this early stage movement was present, but it was not conceived as an intentional thematic link between sculptures. Her later sculptures, some commissioned, some made for friends and family, were conscious attempts at carving movement into stone.
A statue called Ballerina was sculpted by Elise for her grandfather and shows her own daughter dancing. The slender figure moves elegantly, poised and posed in stone. A companion piece, Ballerino, shows a male figure dancing. Even a perched bird, a Whisky Jack or Grey Jay, carved in stone and perched on a stone pedestal, leans forward in a moment caught by the camera that photographed the stone. Movement, caught in still stone and photos, is everywhere in the later sculptures. Looking at them, time stands still and the stone flows.
Open discussion followed and we chatted about the healing qualities of crystals and how stones too held their magnetism and personalities. Elise talked about the different types of stone, the various marbles, soapstone, granite, and we discussed the fundamental cost of the actual stone, before it was even turned into the work of art. Elise told us how she was attracted to different types of stone and how the raw material would “call” her and attract her attention. Sometimes, she said, she drew her ideas from the stone, however, on other occasions, she would sketch what she wanted to carve and then find a stone that would be suitable. This latter method she associated more with her commissioned work. Elise also told us about the effect of weather upon stone and how some stones could be left outside in sun, rain, and snow, while others needed more protection.
Art lag, something similar to jet lag, but far more pleasant, was setting in and, a weary group, we adjourned early, leaving behind, with regret, some wonderful ideas and memories, but taking with us images Elise’s creative techniques and mind pictures of the creations that Elise had plucked from her stones.