2019: Fields

In 2019, the theme for Ecopoetry Workshop, ‘fields,’ followed the theme of the Nature, Art, and Habitat Residency, which was ‘herbs and pastures.’ Poets and theorists in the arts and sciences have been thinking in terms of ‘fields’ for centuries. In physics, there is a quantum field; in a book, the page could be considered a field for the planting of language. Below is some of the work we created in response to our own thinking about, and working through, fields at the 2019 residency.

This film was created by Courtlin Byrd, with Brent Cox, and shows snippets of the 2019 Ecopoetry Workshop experience, including participants writing, reading from their work, partaking in group, creative exercises, and eating together. The location is the town of Sottochiesa, Lombardy, in the Taleggio Valley where the workshop is based.

Although the workshop was only two weeks in duration, in the final few days, we, as a group, produced a book of written work called Ecopoetry Workshop: Field Notes From a Regenerative Economy of Fields.

We printed the book at a commercial print-shop in the nearby town of Zogno. The book contains theoretical statements from each participant, their poetry, drawings, and exegetical writing.

This image shows the front cover of the book that we produced, entitled Field Notes From a Regenerative Economy of Fields.
Brent Cox’s theoretical statement
Participant Amanda Hohenberg’s ecopoetical statement
Participant Joanna Doxey’s ecopoetical statment.

All involved in the 2019 workshop were focussed on writing, but photography and film also played a significant part. Our co-organizers, Brent Cox and Courtlin Byrd shot a variety of short pieces, including an eco-mockumentary and a more sincere piece on the cheese-making process, entitled Hands.

We invite all experimental writers, artists, filmmakers, choreographers, and ecological thinkers to future Ecopoetry Workshops.

Three workshop members hiking from Sottochiesa up to the church of San Bartholomeo at Ecopoetry Workshop 2019

Testimonials

A time to immerse yourself in your craft and work while being part of a supportive and vibrant intellectual community – with great walks, food and wine as well
—Jane Thomas.

the workshop was nourishing & challenging; with its base set against a magical mountainous backdrop, it was a perfect eco-poem itself. as a group of makers we discussed, walked, wrote, played, ate. both generative and intellectually rigorous it was the breathing space i needed for my practice. the schedule itself was perfectly balanced between guided and self led, allowing me to conceive of a performance piece while accommodating my long and necessary meanderings along the river. thank u to the eco-team for holding this necessary and generous space.!
— Amanda Hohenberg

“To make things, to make art, to make art and words in a time of climate change — how can we? When I gathered with the wonderful folks of Ecopoetry Workshop in 2019, I had no idea the possibility and where it would lead. Of course we wrote, and I – personally a slow writer – felt more “productive” and alive with ideas through our conversations and wanderings than I have before. But, also, I was also able to conceive of a college class from the collaborative and interdisciplinary. In Fall 2020, amidst a pandemic and often stifling smoke from a nearby firefire, I taught what I titled “Identity & Landscape: Expanding the Field of Ecopoetry” and I owe its initial thinkings and birth to the time spent in Sottochiesa. Through critical essay and poetry as well as echoes of conversations from NAHR, I was able to bring students to this evolving notion of Ecopoetry and the Anthropocene because of my experience in Ecopoetry Workshop. Simon, Brent, and Courtlin each brought their perspective and interdisciplinary lenses to the subject in such a way that allowed any writer and artist in. The participants, too, each were able to make it their own and I hope that my class allowed that for students. My students’ this semester final projects included hybrid essays with image, poetry, footnotes; interactive poems on ecotone; mapping poems; and so many wildly inventive personalizations on the subject. I also had so much joy facilitating the class and it would have been possible without Ecopoetry Workshop. It made me believe that poetry and art in the Anthropocene is not just useful but necessary. Plus, I now eat Taleggio cheese regularly, but it tastes so much better in Val Taleggio.”
— Joanna Doxey

A close-up photo of grasses at Ecopoetry Workshop 2019. The fields of the Taleggio Valley are full of various plant species, and attract a large variety of insects and other animals.

 

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