Arc Poetry Magazine and Tree Reading Series, two of Ottawa’s most-respected literary organizations, are collaborating to offer two master-class workshops featuring visiting Australian poets, Bonny Cassidy and Natalie Harkin. The workshops, which will focus on themes of place and embodied voice, with a particular emphasis on the aboriginal engagement with place and colonial archives, take place concurrently at the Wabano Centre, 299 Montreal Road, Ottawa on Saturday, October 25. The workshops will run from 9-4. The registration fee for each workshop is $65, including lunch.
The workshop leaders are both new-generation Australian poets and mentors. Natalie Harkin works at Yunggorendi, First Nations Centre for Higher Education and Research at Flinders University in Adelaide. Her work, a kind of ‘archival-poetics’ weaves a love of storytelling, activism and resistance through art and literature with her own Aboriginal heritage. She is also part of a collective of four Aboriginal women engaging in creative and performative Indigenous research methodologies. Their collaborative project, Bound and Unbound: Sovereign Acts – decolonising methodologies of the lived and spoken, explores decolonising processes through visual and performance art.
Natalie’s Writing into Invisible Space workshop, will explore engagement with and transformation of the record through ‘archival-poetics’ and ekphrasis. A literary response to compelling works of art and artefacts will centre the affective, transformative and honouring dimensions of ‘haunting’ in our daily lives, where the potency of place, colonial-histories and blood-memory collide. Together we will consider how such collisions open up otherwise ‘invisible’ and inaccessible spaces to allow us to perform and project new stories, and create new narratives of history in acts of memory-making and resistance. Participants in the Writing into Invisible Space workshop are each invited to bring an artwork – not their own – to discuss the affective dimensions of the work, and then write into the spaces these discussions create.
Bonny Cassidy is a wellknown poet and academic in Australia. Her most recent book is Final Theory (Giramondo Publishing, 2014). She has led workshops at the University of Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria, and at high schools, galleries and artists centres throughout Australia.
Her workshop, Unbelonging: writing and reading poetry that floats will discuss and develop poems on themes of place and embodied voice, that is, poems speaking from a close awareness of environment and the sensations of bodies within it. Specifically, participants will read examples of poems that explore these themes through voices that exceed singular identities: images that go beyond defined localities; voices that reach beyond the human experience; or narratives that are orientated beyond nationality. In the practical component of the workshop, you will share and develop participants’ drafts around these ideas, culminating in an informal group reading at the end of the day. For the Unbelonging workshop, participants are requested to bring: one or two original poem drafts that engage somehow with the loose themes of the workshops; and one poem by another author, related to these themes. To book your place, click on the paypal button below:
Cassidy and Harkin are in Ottawa to participate in the launch of Arc #75, a collaboration with the Melbourne-based literary magazine Cordite. The Arc issue features a new generation of Australian poets while the Cordite component boasts more than 40 Canadian writers. The launch, including readings by Harkin and Cassidy, as well as two Canadian poets, will take place as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival on October 26.
Participants must pre-register, noting their preferred workshop.
The fee for each workshop is $65. A vegetarian lunch, and coffee/tea are included. A welcome ceremony, an aboriginal drumming performance, and a tour of the stunning Wabano Centre, the new Douglas Cardinal-designed building on Montreal Road, are also scheduled. On-street parking is available and for those taking the bus, #12 stops outside the building. The fee is payable by cheque to Arc Poetry Magazine, PO Box 81060, Ottawa, ON, K1P 1B1 or at Paypal using the link below.
The workshops are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Arc Poetry Magazine and the Tree Reading Series.