What: Place and Persona, a poetry workshop hosted by Josie Emmons Turner
When: Saturday, July 16, 9 am – 1 pm
Where: Fort Nisqually Museum, Great Room
Cost: FREE, pre-registration required. Please fill out a registration form and send to email@example.com. Workshop space is limited to 15.
Tacoma Poet Laureate, Josie Emmons Turner, will host a free poetry workshop in the Great Room of Fort Nisqually at Point Defiance Park, on Saturday, July 16. The workshop, Place and Persona, will explore “persona poems” – poems in which the narrator’s voice is that of an imaginary person, not the writer. This technique frees the poet to imaginatively explore new worlds. The first two hours will be spent exploring various persona poems. Participants will then have a private hour for quiet reflection and writing poetry. During the final hour, participants will share new draft poems. Workshop participants should bring a sack lunch and writing materials.
The Great Room at Fort Nisqually provides a rich atmosphere for a gathering of writers. “As the workshop’s focus is Place and Persona, I was looking for a place that would have significance for the participants and would perhaps provide inspiration,” explains Emmons Turner. Workshop participants will enjoy early-morning access to the Great Room, so “we will have the fort to ourselves before people begin their tours.”
Poetry has enjoyed a recent resurgence of popularity – a phenomenon that doesn’t surprise Emmons Turner, who finds poetry to be ubiquitous in everyday life. “Poetry can speak about topics that are hard, questioning….It gives people a voice. We are living in a challenging era [with a failing] economy, two wars, domestic poverty, social divides, and an extremely rapid communication system that negates contemplative reflection. It is just a guess, but I think humans need quiet time, [a] reflective space. Poetry fulfills that need.”
Josie Emmons Turner
The Tacoma Arts Commission selected Josie Emmons Turner as the 2011-2013 Poet Laureate for the City of Tacoma. Over the next two years, she will participate actively in the community by providing free poetry-related workshops and reading at public events. To inquire about working with her, please contact: Josie.firstname.lastname@example.org; 253.678.6117. Emmons Turner’s poetry has been published in 20/20 Tacoma in Images and Verse, 2010 Floating Bridge Review Number 3, In Tahoma’s Shadow, California Quarterly, and Backstreet Review. She received her M.F.A. through the Rainier Writers Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and her B.A. from Seattle University; and she is currently working on her first book. She has been a creative writing educator for five years, currently with Clover Park High School.
Wednesday mornings my boys
ride north to the point
where white caps collide
with the bay. I gather
shorn wool on the porch
of our adobe to spin.
Indians make tortillas,
hoe the garden – vegetables
for Mission Dolores. The priest
comes at eleven, prepares Mass.
At noon, he drinks chocolate
with my Isabella. Always the same:
grass parched for water oak trees
giving shade to cattle. My husband,
In nominee Patris, et Filii,
et Spiritu Sancti,
gave thirty head each
to our oldest daughters.
He left me to the care of my sons,
me and Isabella
That morning I spun wool,
heard Indians singing,
the soundboard of the piano.
An east wind hissed through grass,
cows bellowed. Horse soldiers -
led by the one who did not speak
Spanish. This was how
I learned my sons, my sons
were murdered and watched
men take my Isabella.
Two hundred years I walk
this land. That is me you see,
morning breaking fog
~Josie Emmons Turner