Sunday, September 14th, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
2nd Annual Keweenaw Sustainability Project Retreat at the Marsin Nature Retreat Center:

Nature & Community Writing Workshop
11:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m.


"The language of the garden and the language of poetry, for me, are inseparable."
-- Scott Chaskey, This Common Ground: Seasons on an Organic Farm.

Putting pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, in the service of sustainability, community, and nature is a powerful act. This is an opportunity for you to share your current writing related to nature and community. All genres are welcome -- poetry, fiction, love letters, creative nonfiction, song lyrics, technical reports, impeachment proceedings, grants, autobiographies, personal narratives, etc.
-- in any stage of drafts or completeness.

We will also discuss venues for publishing if you desire wider audiences for your work.

The workshop is an opportunity to receive feedback and critique from others. If you have longer work, please send it ahead of time to allow us to make copies for distributing to workshop participants. When sending your materials, feel free to include a note with your goals for the piece: who your audience is, what kind of feedback you'd find most productive, and any other goals for the work.  If you want to bring short pieces
just for reading on the day of the workshop, that's fine, too.

No cost.
Treats provided.

Nature & Community Writing Resources

Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney. Living on Earth series on the Homeground Project.

This Common Ground: Seasons on an Organic Farm, Scott Chaskey.

A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver.

Poetry Foundation
Poetry 180
Poetry Society of America: journals, publishers, workshops, contents, childrens' resources.

For the technologically curious, we might look into Terra Nova: The Antarctica Suite and speculate about the future of nature and community writing.

Introduction to Poetry
Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

-- From The Apple that Astonished Paris, 1996
University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Ark.

Afternoon Retreat Sessions

1:00-2:00:  Welcoming, Introductions, and Updates

This will be an opportunity for us to assess where we are, currently, in building sustainable communities in the Keweenaw.  We'll hear reports from a few invited speakers describing their efforts over the past year.  Then there'll be the opportunity for all of us to discuss what's going on (or isn't!).  We want the entire group to know about your current projects, efforts, opportunities for collaboration, and new initiatives.


If you have news, updates, projects, an interpretive dance, or materials to share, please plan to.

2:15-3:30:   The Seemingly Preposterous Challenge: 
"Keweenaw Communities:  Off the Grid; Off the Nozzle -- by 2050!"


We have a specific challenge planned for participants which is to bring to bear our collective community intelligence and creativity: the increasingly obvious need to provoke, invite, and meaningfully integrate our broader local communities into greater sustainability efforts -- specifically, our municipalities, industries, retail businesses, tribal entities, educational institutions, government agencies, transit and health care agencies, etc. We'll break into groups, brainstorm and discuss the obvious and not obvious issues underlying these challenges, and develop practical, pragmatic ideas for action.

3:30-4:00:  Reporting Back and Wrap-up:
Recap; looking ahead to next year; concluding thoughts.


*  *  *

We'll have beverages, treats, and snacks available throughout the day; feel free to bring a dish or treats to share.

The Marsin Center is owned and operated as a community resource by the Keweenaw Land Trust, and we're grateful for them making the facility available for our use:

Finally, we encourage you to use the ksp-l@mtu.edu mailing list to arrange carpooling for the day, since many of you will be coming from all over the Houghton and Keweenaw areas.

Looking forward to seeing you next month!

Keweenaw Sustainability Project Steering Group,

Susan Burack
Virginia Cornue
Beth Flynn
Michael Moore > contact for information: mmoore@mtu.edu; (906) 370-0206
Vern Simula > contact for information: vsimula@pasty.net; (906) 288-3181
Laura Smyth