Please join Catherine Bowman -- award-winning author of five collections of poems, most recently Can I Finish, Please? (Four Way Books), editor of Word of Mouth: Poems Featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Indiana University Professor of Literature and Creative Writing -- in a series of onsite, outdoor creative writing workshops that will explore our relationship to our vital and endangered urban waterways.
These workshops are part of StreamLines, an interactive, place-based project that merges the sciences and the arts to advance the community’s understanding and appreciation of Indianapolis waterways.
This will be a fun and engaging summer class where we will write along side the everyday lives of our neglected waterways and streams, engaging in a poetry of ecology in new ways through creative reverie and serious play.
This four-week series is for those who want to practice their craft, deepen their creativity and connect to our local ecosystems, urban waterways and relationship to place. All skill-levels are welcome.
The open-air class will meet four times (Thursdays, June 9, 16, 23, 30 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) at the Pogue's Run StreamLines art installation by Mary Miss. Attend one, just a few or all four! (There is a series at Fall Creek too on Tuesdays, June 7/14/21/28 - more info and sign-up here).
Each four-week series will be crafted specifically to the particular environment and ecosystems of the sites. For example, in one class participants will work with the music of language and the epistle as they explore the theme of corridors and integrated water systems. In another students will use writing prompts, the ode and the elegy to explore animal and plant habitats. Thinking about urban water cycles and nutrient cycles, participants will make weathergrams to hang in the trees. Invented by Lloyd Reynolds, weathergrams are based on Tibetan prayer flags and the Japanese tradition of attaching haiku-like prayers to trees.
Each class will have a creative theme and science theme in which to frame our writing as participants engage with the landscape, the flora and the fauna. Students will work with generative writing prompts and creative experiments, exploring various forms both traditional and experimental. Bowman will lead the class in improvisational poetry walks or drifts, inspired by the French Situationists concept of the derive, we will meander and journal over the site and art installation and listen to the deep knowing and secrets the sites have to share with us.
Multiple guests will collaborate with Bowman over the course of the class including Travis Ryan, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Butler University and principal investigator for the StreamLines project. In addition, Bowman will bring in alternative modalities into the summer repertoire such as meditation and yoga based on kotodama, a concept of Shintoism that speaks of the power of spoken and written word to enact change, create a stone grid healing and ritual for the waterways, and partake in chance operation improvisations as conceived by composers LaMonte Young and John Cage.
In each session, the class will slow down and give its attention to the place, creating a laboratory for the senses. The classes explore how writers past and present have responded to place, in particular our urban streams and waterways.
Participants will leave the workshop with a notebook full of new work, and a deepening of their ecological consciousness and waterways.
These free workshops are part of a National Science Foundation administed by the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University. Visit StreamLines.org for more information.
- Participants are encouraged to attend all four workshops in the series - Tuesdays on June 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
- Meet at the StreamLines Installation behind Flat 12 Bierwerks at Vermont and Dorman Streets. Street parking is availalbe.
- Participants must be 18 and older.
When & Where