The Horace Greeley Writers’ Conference

T he eighth annual Horace Greeley Writers’ Conference was a great success! It was held on Oct. 23 in Poultney and sponsored by the Horace Greeley Foundation.

The conference began with a Greeley oration by President Linda Knowlton and followed with a theater showing of a Greeley documentary created by former Poultney Elementary School sixth-graders, who were selected to represent Vermont at the University of Maryland for National History Day 2009.

Dr. Paul Hancock, professor at Green Mountain College, followed with thoughts on Greeley and the industry of publishing and how it has evolved to what it is today.

Workshops throughout the day offered everyone the opportunity for various aspects of writing.

Laird Christensen from GMC presented “Journaling can enhance your powers of attention, observation, and representation.” He focused on the writer’s notebook saying that notebooks come in all shapes and sizes and emphasized that it is important to get a specific journal for a dedicated project. The brain wavelengths work differently from hand to paper than arm to computer.

The next presenter, a CSC professor, published author, and actor, Burnham Holmes, amused the participants with his muse and writing prompts. “Express your ideas without the stress,” he said. Holmes recommended biographies and had everyone writing about someone’s life. “Non-fiction catches your fancy,” said Holmes.

Published poet and CSC professor, David Mook, started with, “Why poetry? It’s all about sound, imagery, and meaning.”

Using a box of angel hair pasta as a prop, he explained the difference between poetry and prose. “Angel hair is prose with the same lines. Poetry is breaking up the lines—you get to boil it, get rid of the excess, add butter, garlic, and then you have pasta.”

Elementary school teacher Soaring Vail said, “By incorporating the author voice and adding their own flair with illustrations, my students got so excited they kept their bound books as keepsakes.”

A fourth grade student enthusiastically shared his creative book and touched the hearts of the attendees.

Holmes and Ann Duncan ended the conference by discussing the world of publishing, including print on demand (POD).

The youngest attendees included PHS seventh-graders, Joe Brown and Amanda Dunlap.

“What I liked about the Horace Greeley Conference was how I actually learned something!” said Brown, “I can’t wait till next year’s conference.”

“I thought the conference was fun, informational, helpful, and I had a good time. I met new people, learned new things about writing, and I would go again!” said Dunlap.

The Horace Greeley Foundation is already preparing for the October  2011 Writers’ Conference. Knowlton said, “We know it will be a special year as the Foundation will help the local Poultney area celebrate the bicentennial of Horace Greeley (1811-2011)!”

For further information, visit www.thegreeleyfoundation.org or call Knowlton at 287-2577.

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