The 2022 Power of Words Conference will feature three keynote presentations, more than 30 workshops, panel discussions, performances, celebration, and more. Check back later in 2022 for the full conference summary. The conference will bring together writers, storytellers, performers, musicians, community leaders, activists, educators, health professionals, and more.
The conference, founded in 2003, features workshops in five tracks: narrative medicine; social change; right livelihood (and making a living through the arts); ecological literacy, and engaged spirituality.
This year, due to the continuing impact of the pandemic, we will meet online, via Zoom. As always, we prioritize the health, safety, and economic well-being of our community, and look forward to gathering in person as soon as we can!
Friday's Pre-Conference is open to all Conference attendees for an additional fee. The Pre-Conference will feature workshops and a panel discussion with the keynotes. Thursday's Community Performance is free and open to the public.
Community Performance Thursday, October 13, 2022
Presenting a showcase of recent work created by Kelly DuMar's most recent TLA Network class. Registration will open later in 2022 for Your Memoir as Monologue with Showcase: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation. The performance will be on Zoom, and will be free and open to the public.
The Pre-Conference will feature workshops with each of the keynotes. Don't miss the chance to spend the day in an intimate setting, learning from and with these three incredible transformative language artists.
The Pre-Conference is available for an additional fee and is open to all who are registered for the full weekend conference. Register for the Pre-Conference when you register for the full Power of Words Conference. If you already signed up for the full Conference, but did not sign up for the Pre-Conference, contact the TLA Network director for assistance.
Power of Words Conference
Includes more than 30 workshops, panel discussions, performances, celebrations, keynote presentations by .
Join the TLA Network as a member to save on the conference now, and on classes and other offerings later.
Irish Poet Pádraig Ó Tuama is a theologian, conflict resolution mediator, and the author of four volumes of poetry, Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community (2017), In the Shelter (2015), Sorry for your Troubles (2013), and Readings from the Books of Exile (2012), which was longlisted for the 2013 Polari First Book Prize.
For Ó Tuama, religion, conflict, power and poetry all circle around language, that original sacrament. Working fluently on the page and in public, Ó Tuama is a compelling poet, teacher, and group worker, and a profoundly engaging public speaker. He has worked with groups to explore story, conflict, their relationship with religion and argument, and violence. Using poetry, group discussion and lectures, his work is marked both by lyricism and pragmatism, and includes a practice of evoking stories and participation from attendees at his always-popular lectures, retreats, and events.
Ó Tuama has been a featured guest on On Being with Krista Tippett twice, and is a regular broadcaster on radio on topics such as Poetry, Religion in the public square, Loneliness, Conflict and Faith, LGBT inclusion, the dangers of so-called Reparative Therapy, and the value of the Arts in public life. In 2011, with Paul Doran, Pádraig co-founded the storytelling event Tenx9 where nine people have up to ten minutes each to tell a true story from their lives. From 2014-2019, Pádraig led the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organization. Currently, Pádraig guides the weekly podcast Poetry Unbound through NPR’s On Being, which dives and immerses the listener into one poem every week.
His poetry collection Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community draws on the spiritual practices of Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community Corrymela—of which Ó Tuama was a leader from 2014-2019. Described by Canterbury’s Poetry Laureate Patience Agbabi as “compassionate, contemporary and formally innovative,” this prayer book was structured over 31 days, offering a daily Bible reading with accompanying prayer. His book In the Shelter interweaves everyday stories with narrative theology, gospel reflections with mindfulness and Celtic spirituality with poetry, ultimately revealing the transformational power of welcome. Network Magazine praised it as being remindful of Augustine’s Confessions and Newman’s Apologia: “It comes from the heart, it recognizes the hurts and the triumphs, and it encourages us to say ‘hello’ to new things.” Sorry for Your Troubles, arose out of a decade of O’Tuama’s experiences hearing stories of people who have lived through personal and political conflict in Nothern Ireland, the Middle East, and other places of conflict. One poem, ‘Shaking hands’ was written when Padraig witnessed the historic handshake between Queen Elizabeth II and Martin McGuinness, who has since used the poem publicly. His first book Readings from the Books of Exile interweaves parable, poetry, art, activism and philosophy into an original and striking expression of faith.
His poems have been published at Poetry Ireland Review, Academy of American Poets, Post Road, Cream City Review, Holden Village Voice, Proximity Magazine, On Being, Gutter, America, and Seminary Ridge Review.
Pádraig Ó Tuama holds a BA Div validated by the Pontifical College of Maynooth, an MTh from Queen’s University Belfast and is currently engaged in a PhD in Theology through Creative Practice at the University of Glasgow exploring poetry, Irishness and religion.
Camille T. Dungy is the author of four collections of poetry: Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017); Smith Blue (Southern Illinois UP, 2011) winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize; Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press, 2010) winner of the American book award in 2010; and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen Press, 2006).
Her debut collection of personal essays, Guidebook to Relative Strangers (W. W. Norton, 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. As a working mother whose livelihood as a poet-lecturer depended on travel, Camille Dungy crisscrossed America with her infant, then toddler, intensely aware of how they are seen, not just as mother and child, but as black women. The Kirkus Review noted of this lyrical memoir, “Each essay flows smoothly into the next, and they are all interlinked with themes of race, fear, joy, and love, bringing readers eye to eye with the experiences of being a black female poet, lecturer, mother, and woman. Forthright, entertaining, often potent essays that successfully intertwine personal history and historical context regarding black and white in America.”
Dungy is the editor of the anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (UGA, 2009), the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets. About the anthology, a Booklist starred review notes, “Just as nature is too often defined as wilderness when, in fact, nature is everywhere we are, our nature poetry is too often defined by Anglo-American perspectives, even though poets of all backgrounds write about the living world. Dungy enlarges our understanding of the nexus between nature and culture, and introduces a ‘new way of thinking about nature writing and writing by black Americans.'” Black Nature brings to the fore a neglected and vital means of considering poetry by African Americans and nature-related poetry as a whole. Dungy serves as the poetry editor for Orion magazine.
Dungy is also the editor of several other anthologies, including From the Fishouse (Persea, 2009) and Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006).
Dungy is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Sustainable Arts Foundation, The Diane Middlebrook Residency Fellowship of the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, and other organizations. She was the recipient of a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her poems and essays have been published in Best American Poetry, The 100 Best African American Poems, nearly thirty other anthologies, and over one hundred print and online journals.
Dungy is currently University Distinguished Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University.
Kathleen (Kay) Adams is one of the most prominent and established voices in the field of therapeutic writing. She is an author, psychotherapist, registered poetry/journal therapist (PTR) and master mentor/supervisor (MM/S) whose gift and life mission is sharing the power of writing with all who desire self-directed change. Kay is the author/editor of 12 books on the power of writing, including the best-selling Journal to the Self.
In 1985, at the beginning of her graduate training, Kay taught her first journal workshop. Three years later, at graduation, she founded the Center for Journal Therapy. It has grown into an international training and consulting company offering workshops, on-line classes, certification training, retreats, intensives and individual consultations on the use of writing in therapy, health and wellness, coaching, and spiritual direction. She has worked as a journal therapist in private practice, in-patient, and intensive out-patient psychiatric programs. Kay is adjunct faculty in the Professional and Creative Writing Master’s program at University College at the University of Denver, where she teaches Writing & Healing.
Testimonials from Past Conferences
"Come and meet some seriously interesting and diverse people with a love of transformational politics, poetry and language. I loved the whole experience!"
"I always appreciate the comraderie at this event. People are non-judgemental and open. I don’t think it would be possible to feel more accepted or at peace. This truly satisfies and transcends the human experience by combining heart with art."
"The Transformation Language Arts conference provides a home for artists, writers and musicians who want to help create a peaceful world. I go to learn, I go to contribute, I go to sustain hope."
"As an artist and philanthropist who participates in artistic/humanities conference and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico and the Middle East - I'm very impressed with this conference! The workshop and performance presenters were diverse; audience participants supportive; key note speakers memorable; staff magnificent. A genuine pleasure to be in attendance!"
"The TLA Conference is an adventure of diving into a deep pool of unexpected discoveries. Some are delightful and awe-inspiring, some frightening and strange, but the immersion in diversity and the authenticity of the presenter's (and participant's) stories and presence is palpable and real. A necessary reminder of what we are so starved for in the current climate of media and political rhetoric. If change is going to be sustainable and humane, we need more people trained and working with the qualities of these warriors. The Conference is a way to either dip a toe in or dive in head first."
— Robin Russell
"The Power of Words Conference...in the midst of the unpredictability of daily life, for a few precious days I found myself surrounded by beauty, reminded yet again how art and wordcraft are not luxuries, to paraphrase Audre Lorde, but tools for survival, 'sanctuaries and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas.'
We think and language into existence, whether our language takes the shape of words, images, sounds, or movements, summoning new worlds with our breath and our bodies. And as we come together to share we move away from isolation and fear and into one another, drawing close to the hearth where we warm and nourish ourselves before heading back out.
This is the power of words -- that something so fragile, awkward, limited and limiting can, in the end, still be a way in: a key in a lock, a warm breeze signaling an end to winter's slumber, a torch to light the way."