Ecopoetics: A Writing Workshop at the Western Edge
Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email with directions to the meeting location!
Photo by Cain Buckler
Co-presented by Mesa Refuge
What is ecopoetics? The word’s root, poetics, comes from the Greek “poiesis,” meaning “to make.” Its prefix, eco, comes from the Greek “oikos,” meaning “family and house.” Given this etymology, we might understand ecopoetics, simply, as home making—the practice of cultivating a healthy and livable place. Certainly such a practice could be supported by any number of different activities, from writing, visual art, and performance, to farming, ecological restoration, community organizing, and activist work.
Over the past two decades, writers, artists, and critics have taken up the project of imagining ecopoetics in its relationship to writing and art practices in particular. The term ecopoetics is now frequently used to refer to ecologically oriented poetry and other textual forms. Today some poets and writers use the term ecopoetics to delineate formally innovative contemporary writing concerned with today’s most pressing environmental challenges.
In this workshop, we will explore the term ecopoetics through our own creative, site-specific writing and art practices on Point Reyes National Seashore. We will ask: what does it mean to write poetry in a time of unprecedented ecological crisis? What role might experimental writing play in shaping or changing cultural attitudes about the natural world? In addition to creating poems and other textual and art objects, we will take our ecopoetics practices beyond the page through active engagement with local ecologies and environmental issues, and we will write in response to these expanded ecopoetics practices.
No previous creative writing experience is required for this workshop. Participants are encouraged to experiment with hybrid writing and art practices. All all welcome!
Schedule for the weekend
(Each) Day will involve writing exercises, a nature walk, and a workshop.
-Accommodations included at Historic Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock, more info below.
-If you have any special circumstances or questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class Cancelation Policy
If a registered participant wishes to cancel their enrollment and receive a refund, notification must be received at least 14 days in advance of the class date. No refunds will be issued for enrollment cancellations made less than 14 days in advance of the class date. Class enrollment fees are non-transferable. PNRSA Field Institute classes are generally run rain or shine, though will follow National Park Service weather and road advisories to ensure that classes only run in safe conditions. In the event that the PRNSA Field Institute cancels a class for any reason, participants will receive a full refund of class fees.
Historic Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock
The Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a National Historic Landmark overlooking beautiful Drakes Bay. It is the last remaining example of a rail-launched lifeboat station that was common on the Pacific coast. Located at Chimney Rock, the Lifeboat Station was built in 1927 by the U.S. Coast Guard and contains the crew’s quarters, a large boat bay, and a marine railway system for launching a 36-foot life boat.
The ground floor houses the boat bay museum where a renovated motor boat is located.
The area around the Lifeboat Station is used by the Marine Mammal Center as a release site for rehabilitated wildlife. While staying here some classes are unexpectedly treated to the release of an otter or harbor seal.
Ample working / studio space
Large second floor reading / meeting room overlooking Drakes Bay
Seven bedrooms accommodating 24 individuals, bunk style sleeping
Fully-equipped kitchen with large fridge, large freezer, and commercial range/over
Two large multi person bath/shower rooms
What to Bring
Warm, variable-weather, layered clothing (waterproof windbreaker or rain jacket, hat, gloves)
Hat and sunscreen
Comfortable walking shoes
Refillable water bottle
WARM sleeping bag and pillow (linens not provided for bunkbeds, camp-style mattress only)
Extra sleeping pad for comfort (optional, but the provided mattress is fairly thin)
Ear plugs (to avoid distraction while writing and in case of snorers/elephant seals)
Personal toiletries (shampoo, soap, bath towel, etc.)
Headlamp or flashlight
Journal or tablet for writing
A full service kitchen is provided. Please bring all meals and snacks. The nearest stores and restaurants are 20 miles away over country roads, so you will need to be self-sufficient. By tradition, Saturday night is pot-luck with everyone sharing food. So be sure to bring a dish to share for Saturday dinner, as well as food for yourself.
*Participants should bring a camera (or cell phone), a tripod (if they have one), appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear suitable for a couple miles of walking along coastal trails in varied weather conditions or temperatures, including long-sleeves or pants in case of possible exposure to poison oak or ticks. Participants should ideally also bring a laptop computer and USB Flash Drive for editing images for class photo review and critique.