Power of Words 2008


The Power of Words 2008 Conference

 The 2008 conference was held Sept. 11-15 at Goddard College, bringing together close to 110 people for an indepth exploration of TLA in their lives and world. Keynote presenters included:

  • Julia Alvarez, author of many books, including In the Time of the Butterflies, Saving the World, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent.

  • Kelley Hunt, award-winning rhythm and blues singer-songwriter, who has performed around the world, released four critically-acclaimed CDs, and who, according to one participant, "has a Ph.D. in boogie-woogie."

  • Rick Jarow, founder of the anti-career movement and author of Creating the Work You Love.

  • Bread and Puppet Theatre, doing social change, grass-roots theatre style.

  • Barbara Bethea, aka the Afrikanna Madonna, performing her gospel soul spoken word and song.

  • Sherry Reiter, poetry therapy pioneer and drama therapist.

  • Lewis Mehl-Madrona, author of Coyote Medicine, Narrative Medicine and Coyote Healing.

  • Janet Aalfs, martial artist and poet.

  • Facilitators-in-residence Kristina and Callid Keefe-Perry.

  • Artist-in-residence Cynthia Ross.

The conference began with a pre-pre-conference workshop, "The Unfolding Path: Making the Work You Love Come True," an all-day workshop led by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Kelley Hunt.  Pre- and post-conference workshops included "Creating the Work You Love" with Rick Jarow, "The Power of the Trickster" with Lewis Mehl-Madrona, "Poetry Therapy Medicine: Ten Prescriptions That Could Change Your Life" with Sherry Reiter, and "Canastoria: The Original Form of Street Theatre from Ancient Times to Today," with Bread and Puppet, a workshop that led into a rollicking performance during the opening night of the conference.  Other opening night dazzlers were Janet Aalfs, performing martial arts poetry which left us all breathless, a talk on "Paying it Forward in TLA" by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, a song by Kelley Hunt, an artist talk by Cynthia Ross, and an introduction of holding the space by Kristina and Callid Keefe-Perry.

Among the highlights of the conference was the closing evening events: a spectacular open mic that included over 25 people performing poetry, stories, song, rap, chants and more followed by a closing ceremony led by Kristina and Callid Keefe-Perry that brought us all outside in a large circle in the moonlight where we sat in silence, and spoken — when any of us felt so called — of what moved us during the conference.  The circle culminated in a dance led by Evi Torton Beck.

Workshops were varied and plentiful, including:

  • "But I Used to Live in a Different Place": Fostering Empathy in Children Through Animal Stories — Alexa Mergen.

  • Finding "Write" Livelihood: Strategies on the Path Toward a Joyful and Sustaining Writing Life — Valerie Harris

  • Becoming the Warrior Poet: Transforming Fear into Courage — Jill Jepson

  • Writing the Shadows: An Illuminated Exploration of Archetypal Images — Scott Youmans

  • Declaring Our Erotic: Transformative Writing About Sexuality — Jen Cross

  • The Goddess of Speech and Resonate Word — Rick Jarow

  • Community Radio and Television: Resources for Transformative Language Arts — Mary Rothschild and Cara Lisa Powers

  • "All My Life's A Circle: Integrating Life's Journey Through Poetry, Song and Dance — Evelyn Torton Beck

  • Writing from the Roots: Exploring Cultural Identity — Marianela Medrano-Marra

  • Witnessing Ourselves: Writing Our Owned, Disowned and Transcendent Voices — Reggie Marra

  • True Stories: Finding Freedom at the Intersections of Personal and Cultural Myths — Stephanie Wade

  • Life Manna for the Soul: A Survivor's Journey Through Domestic Violence — Barbara Bethea

  • Dramatic Structure as Work and Life: Create a Happy Ending — Letitia Sweitze

  • Adi Song of Agan: Working with the Long, Poetic "Other" — Regina Ress

  • Return to the Source: Breath, Gesture, Word — Janet Aalfs

  • Opening World with Word: Theopoetics and Imaginging the Divine — Callid and Kristina Keefe-Perry