Workshops with Nancy Anne Miller

Nancy Anne Miller offers a variey of workshops for poets that explore a variety of themes. For more information or to discuss workshops tailored to your needs, please contact her.


Tidelectics: ocean driven poems

The Barbadian poet Edward Kamau Braithwaite referred to poems influenced by the ocean as tidelectic poems. In this workshop we will firstly look to the canon for poems written about the ocean. Secondly, like the Greek orators who sharpened their voice against the rhythmic sound of the tide, we will seek to strengthen our individual voice as we let the incoming/outgoing waves scatter and collect our thinking. We will each go to the ocean ourselves and respond in kind with a poem.

Time frame will be as follows. We each will have read the example poems to inspire our own renderings. We will have visited the ocean to revive our memory, so that by the session we will have a general sense of how we might approach the subject. We will then take forty minutes to share our response to poems in the canon, and to discuss a variety of ways to approach a tidelectic poem including: ocean as voice, metaphor, reflecting the environment, and as a source for childhood memories, etc. We will then have forty five minutes to write out our poem after which we will come back to share our poems. The sharing session will be for as long as we need to go over each piece effectively.

A prompt: I encourage each participant to think of the tide going out as their voice speaking to the ocean, and as the tide coming in as the ocean speaking to them.

This Is Not A Tourist Poem
“No ideas but in things.”   —W.C.Williams

We will each choose a souvenir from our world travels and view it much like an anthropologist thinks about an artifact. Firstly, we will use the list method to find leadings from which to write about the object. Secondly, we will write an object poem from our list. The intention will be to have the tourist memento take us on a poetic journey into a deeper cultural and personal truth.

Time slots :30 minutes orientation where we discuss object poems by Francis Ponge, Sharon Olds, Charles Simic etc.30 minutes writing lists about the object. 30 minutes sharing from our list. 45 minutes to write an object poem.45 minutes to share.

A selection of object poems will be provided from the canon to read beforehand. If possible, please bring your object with you.

Who is in a Name?

In this workshop we will explore and write about our full name. How we were named, whom we were named after, the family history of our names. We will seek to acknowledge the riches of each one of our names, and to integrate the blessings of being called by them. We will journal about our difficulty with certain parts of our naming, as well as tell about the ones which we feel fit us. This workshop will meet on two different days.

Time breaks for the first session: 30 minute orientation where we share what we learned about our names when we researched them. We then will take 45 minutes to journal on each name, writing from such sources as events around the naming, historical and mythological persons named after, and our nick names. We will let the journaling lead us following Sir William Empson’s
method of a fortunate confusion. We will then meet to share our discoveries. 

At session two we will seek to integrate aspects from each name into a poem or prose piece .The time for this will be 45 minutes. Finally, we will share how we embraced being called by our complete naming. We will take as long as we need for each piece. Both prose and poetry writers are welcome.

Please look up the historical and mythological meaning of your names, and acquaint yourself with the family history around them before the workshop.

Film as Location: a workshop about the cinematic experiences in our lives.

In this workshop we will use films as our muse. We will have the opportunity to explore the experience of watching films,
select a film which has effected our lives,
recall an indelible image from a movie, or write in the voice of a character in a film.

There will be a group of poems provided ahead of time to inspire us. They will be taken from the anthology I Found It at the Movies by Guernica Editions.

Schedule: Meet at 9:oclock to discuss poems provided. 9:30 to 10:30 we will write our poems. 10:30 to 11:30 we will share our work. Prose may be used as well as poetry.

Stirring Dull Roots: an April poetry workshop

April is the cruelest month; breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

—T.S. Eliot

To honour poetry month, we will work in two Sunday afternoon sessions with both memory and desire to write new poems for spring. Nature will guide our writing as we read poems from: ‘Poems for a Small Planet: Contemporary American Nature Poetry’ edited by Robert Pack and Jay Parini   (Middlebury Press)

Ber-Mused Poetry Reading 2009