Wingbeats Events

Wingbeats in San Francisco

Poet Dean Rader

Dean Rader

Saturday afternoon, September 21, 2013, Dos Gatos Press presented a workshop featuring Carol Dorf, Dean Rader, and Ellaraine Lockie. Carol Dorf opened our workshop with “The Counting-On Poem,” from her exercise that will appear in Wingbeats II, scheduled for release in the spring of 2014.

Poet Carol Dorf

Carol Dorf

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Dean Rader presented “Fun With Fake Truths: The Wikipedia Poem,” also forthcoming in Wingbeats II. After a short break Ellaraine Lockie presented “Thesausus Is Not a Four-Letter Word.” Wingbeats co-editor David Meischen closed with an exercise based on Oliver de la Paz’s “Rube Goldberg Poems.”


Ellaraine Lockie (at right) and workshop participants.

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Wingbeats in Madison

Wingbeats presenter Cathryn Cofell

Cathryn Cofell

Wingbeats presenter Karla Huston

Karla Huston

Saturday afternoon, June 2, 2012, Dos Gatos Press presented a workshop featuring Wingbeats contributors Cathryn Cofell and Karla Huston.

Wingbeats co-editor Scott Wiggerman opened the workshop with a short exercise by Susan Terris, “Seven (or Ten) Line Poem.” Cathryn and Karla guided participants through two exercises, “Over My Dead Body: Exquisite Corpse” and “Thrift Shop: Giving and Getting, a Collaboration.” Wingbeats co-editor David Meischen closed the workshop with “Rube Goldberg Poems,” an exercise by Oliver de la Paz.
Participants in the Madison workshop

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Wingbeats at Poetry at Round Top

On Friday, May 4, 2012, Wingbeats co-editors David Meischen and Scott Wiggerman (second row, left and right) conducted a workshop, “Four Poems in Two Hours,” using exercises by Susan Terris, Ellen Bass, Oliver de la Paz, and Ravi Shankar.

On Saturday, May 5, featured festival poets Naomi Shihab Nye and Ed Madden (top row, left and right) participated in a Wingbeats panel discussion addressing the value of poetry writing exercises. Scott Wiggerman was also a panelist; David Meischen served as moderator. This event was so well received that Wingbeats became the best-selling title at the festival’s weekend bookstore.

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Wingbeats at BookPeople

Kurt Heinzelman —
The Window Poem — January 15, 2012

Wingbeats contributor and workshop director Kurt Heinzelman

Kurt Heinzelman

Kurt Heinzelman, author of The Names They Found There, presented the first of our workshops at BookPeople here in Austin. Early in the session participants examined a number of photographs and paintings in which windows serve as framing devices. Heinzelman led a discussion of windows and how they might frame or filter a poet’s vision. The workshop concluded with experiments in the writing of window poems.

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Katherine Durham Oldmixon —
Lyrical Bees: Writing Poems Inspired by Biology — January 29, 2012

Katherine Durham Oldmixon, Wingbeats Workshop presenter

Katherine Durham Oldmixon

Katherine Durham Oldmixon, author of Water Signs and director of the writing program at Huston-Tillotson University, presented our second Austin workshop. Early in the session, participants wrote detailed descriptions, from memory, of the interior of an orange, a piece of kiwi fruit, or an egg—followed by an examination of the fruits sliced open and the egg broken from its shell.

an orange and a kiwi fruit, sliced open

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Abe Louise Young —
Birds in the Classroom — February 12, 2012

Wingbeats presenter Abe Louise Young

Abe Louise Young

Abe Louise Young, an award-winning poet and journalist, who works to nurture writers in unconventional settings, presented our third Austin workshop. After pooling items from their pockets and purses, participants chose an evocative object from the mix and let it lead them to poetry. A second exercise invited participants to explore an instance of serendipity in their lives.
Participants in Abe Louise Young's workshop.

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David Meischen — with thanks to Georgia Popoff —
Tales from the Bathroom: The Curious Path to a Poem —
February 26, 2012

Wingbeats presenter David Meischen

David Meischen

Wingbeats co-editor David Meischen presented our fourth Austin workshop, adapted from an exercise by Georgia Popoff, in which participants develop memory-based poems that use the bathroom as a setting.
Participants at work in David Meischen's Wingbeats workshop

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Wingbeats at the Georgetown Poetry Festival

David Meischen — with thanks to Haryette Mullen —
Emulating Walt Whitman — October 1, 2011

Wingbeats Presenter David Meischen

David Meischen

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As part of the second annual Georgetown Poetry Festival, David Meischen presented a workshop based on Harryette Mullen’s Wingbeats exercise. Following the example of “A child said What is the grass?” participants worked on poems that channel the childlike sense of awe that pervades Whitman’s poetry.

Participants in David Meischen's workshop.

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Wingbeats Contributors and Editors — October 1, 2011

Wingbeats editors Scott Wiggerman and David Meischen—along with contributors Nathan Brown, Cyra S. Dumitru, Anne McCrady, & Katherine Durham Oldmixon—discussed their contributions to Wingbeats and engaged in a lively discussion with poets in the audience.

Wingbeats panelists.

Wingbeats panelists Nathan Brown, Scott Wiggerman, David Meischen, Katherine Durham Oldmixon, Cyra S. Dumitru, & Anne McCrady (left to right)

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Wingbeats at the Twig

Naomi Shihab Nye —
New Combinations: Nouns and Verbs — July 24, 2011

Naomi Shihab Nye

Internationally acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye presented the first in our series of Wingbeats exercises at the Twig Book Shop in San Antonio. “New Combinations: Nouns and Verbs” gave attendees hands-on experience in breaking out of the habits we so easily fall into with words.
Attendees at Naomi Shihab Nye's Wingbeats workshop.
A collage showing individuals at work during Naomi Shihab Nye's workshop.
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Wendy Barker —
A Crack in the Cup — August 7, 2011

Poet and presenter Wendy Barker

Wendy Barker

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Wendy Barker, author of Nothing Between Us: The Berkeley Years, a novel in prose poems, presented the second of our Wingbeats workshops at the Twig. During the first hour of “A Crack in the Cup,” participants followed the steps of the exercise and then wrote poems. The second hour allowed for sharing and discussion. Participant Janice Campbell offered to assemble a chapbook of poems written during this workshop.

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Cyra S. Dumitru —
The Mind’s Eye: Listening as Seeing — August 21, 2011

Workshop presenter Cyra S. Dumitru

Cyra S. Dumitru

Cyra S. Dumitru, author of three books of poetry—What the Body Knows, Listening to Light, and remains—conducted a two-part exercise for our third workshop at the Twig. Phase I was a listening and drawing exercise designed to train the poet’s ear and eye. Phase II was a writing activity focusing on imagery.
A participant draws during Dumitru's workshop.
Participants write image-based poems during Dumitru's workshop.
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Jenny Browne —
Love Letter to a Stranger — September 4, 2011

Workshop presenter Jenny Browne

Jenny Browne

Jenny Browne, author of two poetry collections—At Once and The Second Reason—conducted our final workshop in this series at the Twig. Browne was a Michener Fellow in Poetry at the University of Texas, 2004–06. She teaches creative writing at Trinity University.
Participants in Jenny Browne's workshop.
Participants in Jenny Browne's workshop.
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Wingbeats in Alpine

Scott Wiggerman —
Working Out  Your Writing Muscles: A One-Week Exercise Program
Writers League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat, Alpine, July 25–29, 2011

“I have attended many writing workshops in the last ten years (since I began trying to re-invent myself as a poet and writer), all the way from Ghost Ranch at Abiquiu, New Mexico, to the University of Iowa Writers Workshop . . . and I can candidly say the one this past week was the best one, the most productive, the most inspiring, I have ever attended. That’s the truth.”
— Dorothy Alexander

During his week-long workshop, Scott Wiggerman presented fifteen exercises from Wingbeats: Exercises and Practice in Poetry. Former Texas Poet Laureate Larry Thomas visited the workshop. Participants used the computer lab for “Two Sides of the Same Coil: Blending Google Sculpting and Automatism,” an exciting exercise by Bruce Covey. Early in the week, participants danced to inspire lines for their poems.

Scott Wiggerman's Alpine workshop participants.

Scott Wiggerman's Alpine workshop participants.

Travis Blair, Graham Oliver, Carol Muhl, Murphy McBride, Vickey Giles, Reba Saxon, Leah Billingsley, Dorothy Alexander, Scott Wiggerman, Chris Wenk-Harrison, Ramona Tepper, Ann Howells, Kayla Marnach (left to right)

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