Thursday, June 11, 2009

Haiku and Meditation Workshop Update!

Due to popular demand for an alternative, shortened, format this year, Writing from Within 2009, led by Maeve O'Sullivan and Kim Richardson, will now run from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th July 2009 as a "long weekend" workshop. While tuition in some of the forms related to haiku have of necessity been cut back, along with a number of meditations, the workshop leaders are confident that the integrity and essential values of the weeklong workshop will be maintained.

This workshop is designed to help you develop paths to your own inner inspiration, whether you write for page, screen or stage, fiction, non-fiction or poetry. To help develop this "path within," we work with the ancient medium of haiku poetry and related forms, with its links to the spiritual tradition of Zen Buddhism and its emphasis on "mindfulness." The discipline, conciseness and necessary sense of awareness in these poetic forms is both an end in itself and an aid in the creation of other art forms, such as poetry, fiction, play- and screenwriting and the visual arts.

Combining the haiku work with meditation, breath and light practices, the outstanding natural beauty of Ireland's BĂ©ara Peninsula and the peace and quiet of Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat and gardens, our aim is to heighten our levels of awareness, finding a path to the "principle within," which is the true source of our inspiration.

"…it is only those things evolved out of (our) inner being that we can claim as (our) own"
D T Suzuki

We will aim to come away from this workshop with a deepened sense of where our writing comes from and a heightened level of awareness that will help us strengthen our individual creative skills.

Here's what the weekend of workshop and retreat to Anam Cara has in store for you:

Thursday, 23 July

Arrival and settling into where you'll be staying either at Anam Cara or a nearby B&B).

8:30 P.M. Introductory dinner at Anam Cara

9:15-10:00 P.M. Short introduction to the workshop. “Tour de Table” and short guided meditation (See note below.*)

Friday 24th July

8:30 A.M. Breakfast where you are staying

10:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M. Workshop session with coffee break

Basic introduction to the haiku form – both conventional (5-7-5 syllables) and freeform versions, including some history and examples from both the canon and from contemporary writers. Basic guidelines for writing haiku will be given, plus an opportunity to write some (including a short walk to local beach #1 and back, weather permitting).

1:15-2:15 P.M. Lunch at Anam Cara

2:30-5:00 P.M. Workshop session with coffee break

Guided meditation and labyrinth walk (See note below.*)

5:00-6:30 P.M. Free time

7:30 P.M. Dinner at Anam Cara

Evening: Free time, optional -- sunset meditation

Saturday 25th July

8:30 A.M. Breakfast where you are staying

10:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M. Workshop session with coffee break

An introduction to tanka, a solo five-line form related to the haiku. This will include an exercise to produce a number of tan-renga, a five-line form written by two people.

1:15-2:15 P.M. Lunch at Anam Cara

2:30-5:00 P.M. Workshop session with coffee break

Second “ginko” or "composition stroll" to local beach #2, followed by an (optional) workshop of the resulting haiku

5:00- 6:30 P.M. Free time

7:30 P.M. Dinner at Anam Cara

Evening: Proposed music/singing session with all singers and musicians welcome to participate by presenting their "party pieces." If you’re not musically inclined, a recitation is acceptable!

Sunday 26th July

8:30 A.M. Breakfast where you are staying

10:00-11:00 A.M. “Wrap-up” session with questions and feedback; short closing meditation

12:00 P.M. Departure

*Note: Meditation sessions will include some or all of the following: guided meditations, breath practices, labyrinth meditation. The overall focus or theme will be “Awareness”. Participants will also be encouraged to spend some time on their own with suggested practices.

General Workshop Notes:

1. Although we aim to cover all the above over the long weekend, the order and detail of some of the sessions may change as we go along, if we feel it would improve or enhance the experience. Also, the ratio of "technical" to "meditation/contemplation" sessions (and the content of these last) will vary from day-to-day, depending on the dynamic of the group and the ground to be covered.

2. There will be "handouts" covering the main workshop sessions, including suggested further reading and links to online resources, and the principal meditation/contemplation practices. There will also be a temporary "library" of collections and anthologies of haiku and related forms, essays and other materials at Anam Cara during the weekend.

3. Bring good weatherproof/waterproof clothing (including a jacket with a hood) and boots for walking, something to sit on if you like to use a meditation cushion, stool or mat, and a pocket notebook and pencil.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The Workshop Leaders:

Workshop leaders Maeve O'Sullivan and Kim Richardson jointly bring their deep skills and experience to this important training. Based in Dublin, Maeve is a leading Irish haiku poet, founder member of Haiku Ireland, and co-author, with Kim, of the haiku collection Double Rainbow (Alba Publishing, 2005). She is also an experienced haiku workshop leader and tutor of journalism, specialising in writing skills. Kim, who lives near London, is a partner in an editorial and design team developing information books for publishers, a published haiku poet, and a member of the Redthread Haiku Sanga.

Representative Feedback from former Workshop Participants:

"The content of the course was clearly well-prepared and thoughtfully presented. For me, the combination of meditation and writing practice was well-balanced. Overall a dynamic, challenging and rewarding week. Beautiful and peaceful surroundings too. This experience will stay in my heart for a long time. Many thanks to you both."

"Excellent – beautifully and sensitively facilitated – a collaborative approach made all the exercises, haiku and awareness so memorable…I was looking for a different retreat experience, and got it."

"The workshops were cogent, organised and very well conducted. I thought the feedback and critical comments were extremely helpful and done with grace. The atmosphere, setting and nurturing were just what was needed to support the work."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The Workshop Fee Includes:

1. Workshop tuition and meditation/exercise sessions

2. Room and full board (including all drinks except alcoholic beverages; it's byob) with your own room and bath (either at Anam Cara or a nearby B&B; transportation to and from B&Bs to Anam Cara provided if it's not a good day for the short, scenic walk)

3. Access to all the amenities at Anam Cara (including the common working areas, the movie and music loft, the conservatory, the hot tub overlooking Coulagh Bay (bring your swimming costume), the sauna, and the five acres of garden and riverbank grove with 32+ quiet nooks and crannies

Workshop Fee: €450

To hold your place for this workshop, please contact me; I will pencil you in and send along information about traveling to and from Anam Cara. You can then confirm your booking by sending a 50% deposit (€225 or the Euro equivalent in your currency). Rooms at Anam Cara are booked on a first-deposit-in basis.

"Writing from Within" is limited to a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 15 participants on a first-deposit-in basis.

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