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Ferry Beach Park & Retreat Center

2459481_origFerry Beach is a place of unsurpassed beauty with 900 feet of beachfront in Saco, Maine (close to Portland, ME airport, and not far from Boston and other airports) offering respite away from the everyday world. It is a collection of meeting spaces, wide porches, an art and pottery studio, an outdoor chapel, a performance space, many gathering places and a wonderful dining hall.

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Power of Words Conference

Join us August 18th-20th, 2017 at Ferry Beach in Saco, Maine for our 14th Power of Words Conference: Transformation, Liberation, and Celebration Through the Spoken, Written, and Sung Word, with workshops, performances, talking circles, celebration, and more, featuring writers, storytellers, performers, musicians, community leaders, activists, educators, and health professionals.

The conference, founded in 2003, features workshops in four tracks: narrative medicine, social change, right livelihood (and making a living through the arts), ecological literacy, and engaged spirituality.

There's a Pre-Conference, too!

2017 Underwriters

Learn more about our 2017 underwriters & cosponsors, and consider becoming one today!


Joseph Bruchac

For over thirty years Joseph has been creating poetry, short stories, novels, anthologies, and music that reflect his Abenaki Indian heritage and Native American traditions. He is the author of more than 120 books for children and adults. The best selling Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children and others of his “Keepers” series, with its remarkable integration of science and folklore, continue to receive critical acclaim and to be used in classrooms throughout the country.

Join Joseph and the rest of the keynoters for their special pre-conference workshops on Friday, August 18th!

True Story Theater

Christopher and Anne Ellinger founded, direct and perform with the 24-member improvisational Playback Theatre ensemble, True Story Theater. True Story has done hundreds of shows and workshops in the greater Boston area, including with the inner city youth, cancer survivors, climate action groups, social justice organizers, expressive therapists, global philanthropists, and more. Christopher and Anne started Playback North America, a network serving 76 Playback Theatre companies in the U.S. and Canada. Previously, they ran two national nonprofits focusing on transforming the culture of generosity: More Than Money and Bolder Giving. Their book, Getting Along: Skills for Life-Long Love, shares lessons from 30+ years living and working together. They also co-authored A Playback Theatre Toolkit, with 300 pages of handouts drawn from artistic, company, and business development aspects of being part of their artistic ensemble.

Ensemble members joining TST for the conference include Christopher and Anne, Tonia Pinheiro, Jason Jedrusiak, Mary Elizabeth Wheeler, and Franci DuMar:

Tonia Pinheiro (upper left headshot) is an intuitive improvisational actor, singer, sound healer, group facilitator, and author. Tonia is founder of Wake Up! Works, Iseeu Theater, is a founding member of True Story Theater, and is author of Sweet Water Shadow Woman, a memoir by Toni Kelleher.

Jason Jedrusiak (right) is a performance and multi-media artist, improvisational actor/director, yoga and meditation instructor, photographer, poet, and clown. Jason also directs Laughing Matter, a non-profit dedicated to spreading laughter to those in need.

Mary Elizabeth Wheeler (left) is an improvisational songwriter, song leader, singer, and teacher with 22 years in Authentic VoiceWork. Co-creator of the SpiritSong process and the Mystic Soul CD, she directs Indigo River, an organization dedicated to bringing the authentic voice to life.

Franci DuMar (lower right) is a current Lesley University student studying Expressive Arts Therapy with interest in farm therapy. She has been a Playback artist for ten years.

Mahogany L. Browne

Mahogany is an Executive Editor at The Offing, a Cave Canem, Poets House & Serenbe Focus fellow and author of several books including NAACP Image Award nominated Redbone. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and Australia. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada's The Word and UK's MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Apogee, Literary Bohemian, Joint & The Feminist Wire. She co-organizer of #BlackPoetsSpeakOut, founder of Women Writers of Color Reading Room (housed on Pratt Institute) & is an Urban Word NYC Poet-in-Residence (as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices). Mahogany earned her MFA degree from Pratt Institute (inaugural class) and serves on the Board of Trustees for Pratt Institute. Mahogany is currently co-editing Black Girl Magic (Haymarket, 2017), is the Poetry Program Director of the Nuyorican Poets CafĂ© and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Susan Bennett-Armistead, PhD

Susan is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Maine. She completed her doctorate in Teacher Education, Curriculum and Policy at Michigan State University with an emphasis in early literacy, while serving as the the Program Supervisor of the MSU’s Child Development Laboratories. Prior to doctoral study, she was a preschool teacher and administrator for 14 years. Dr. Bennett-Armistead speaks internationally on literacy development in young children as well as on the role that families can play in that development and is the co-author of several published books. She is the early literacy consult both to Maine's Raising Readers and Save the Children. Dr. Bennett-Armistead lives in Bangor with her husband and four of her 6 children.

Musician in Residence

Kelley Hunt

In some ways Roots R&B/Americana singer/songwriter/piano player/guitarist Kelley Hunt is a rarity and a challenge to the music industry's penchant for easy artist definitions -- a woman who has muscled her way onto the scene on her own terms with an identity steeped in blues/roots/gospel traditions and a refreshing originality. She makes music with it's righteous roots intact that also crosses boundaries, has an open-minded, exploratory attitude, and takes on social and political issues. Together with a commanding, passionate stage presence and superior vocal, keyboard, and songwriting skills, she has earned the respect of critics and fans across North America and Europe.

Kelley will be performing Thursday, August 17th at 7pm at Ferry Beach, open for the public! Please join us even if you aren't staying for the whole conference.

Learn from Kelley and the rest of the keynoters during the pre-conference workshops on Friday, August 18th!

Register Today!

"The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Kansas, P.O. Box 442633, Lawrence, KS 66044

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