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Poetry Writing Workshop Offered at Whitehall Inn

Posted June 01, 2012, at 8:07 a.m.

CAMDEN, Maine — As part of this summer’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the “discovery” of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay at the Whitehall Inn in 1912, Kathleen Ellis will conduct a two-day poetry writing workshop on June 20 and 27.

The workshop, which will meet from 1:00-4:30 p.m. each day, will focus on clothing and identity in poetry.

In addition, the group will examine some of Millay’s poems about disguise, duplicity, and masquerade, which criticized the gender roles and sexual identity of her time. Whether she was draped in the image of “a medieval princess in a floating chiffon dress” or in a man’s tailored suit and tie, Millay used her body and fashion as masquerading strategies to question the conventions of culture in which critics had placed the woman poet.

The workshop is open to writers of all levels of experience as well as those who want to try their hand at poetry writing for the first time. The fee for both sessions is $85, and a single session is $50. Enrollment is limited to 10.

Participants in the poetry writing workshop will also present a reading at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 27 in the Whitehall’s Millay Room.

Poet and workshop leader Kathleen Ellis has over 20 years of teaching and publishing experience and teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Maine in Orono. Her most recent collection is “Narrow River to the North,” and she is the author of four previous collections, including “Vanishing Act,” “Entering Earthquake Country,” and “Red Horses.”

With Margery (Wilson) Irvine, Ellis co-edited “The Eloquent Edge: 15 Maine Women Writers.” She has received individual artist fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, Maine Arts Commission, and residency fellowships from the Yaddo and Djerassi Foundations. Widely published in literary journals and anthologies, she also coordinates the annual POETS/SPEAK! event at the Bangor Public Library.

In 1982, Ellis was part of a Maine Humanities Council project, “The Spirit of Place: 200 Years of Maine Poetry,” for which she did extensive research on Millay, Abbie Huston Evans, and other Maine women poets. In 1992, she was poet/scholar and scriptwriter for a film documentary for the centennial of Millay’s birth, “Renascence: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Poet,” sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council and Farnsworth Art Museum.

To enroll in the writing workshop, call the Whitehall Inn in Camden at 236-3391, or visit whitehall-inn.com/ for more information about the summer-long Millay anniversary celebration.

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