The Gathering 2011 – Physical and Metaphysical Home


Physical and Metaphysical Home: Memory, Grace, and Story




Ted-Kooser1Ted Koozer is aTwo-time United States Poet Laureate (2004-2006), the highly regarded Nebraskan poet Ted Kooser was the first poet from the Great Plains to hold the position. A professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln he is the author of eleven full-length collections of poetry, including Weather Central (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994) and Delights and Shadows, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. His book The Poetry Home Repair Manual(University of Nebraska Press, 2005), gives beginning poets tips for their writing.

Delights & Shadows
 An Elegaic Life

Susan-CooperSusan Cooper has been a news reporter and editor and has written books for children and adults, screenplays for TV and the cinema and a Broadway play. She read English at Somerville College, Oxford, and was the first woman to edit the University newspaper, Cherwell. After graduating with an MA in English, she began work as a reporter on the Atticus Column of London’s The Sunday Times (her first boss was Ian Fleming). One of her first published stories was “Over Sea, Under Stone,” which gave rise to the iconic “Dark Is Rising” series. Her first major play, Foxfire, was written in collaboration with the Canadian actor Hume Cronyn, whose wife Jessica Tandy won a Tony award for her performance in it. Her film credits include The Dollmaker, for which Jane Fonda won a best actress Emmy award.


Witold-RybczynskiWitold Rybczynski studied architecture at McGill University. He is currently Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. He has designed houses, and low-cost housing for which he received a 1991 Progressive Architecture award. In 1993, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and he has received honorary doctorates from McGill University and the University of Western Ontario. In 2007, he received the Vincent Scully Prize, the Seaside Prize, and the Institute Collaborative Honors from the AIA. He serves on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

Described as “one of our most original, accessible, and stimulating writers on architecture” by Library Journal, Rybczynski is currently architecture critic for the on-line magazine Slate. He has written fifteen books about the evolution of comfort, a history of the weekend, American urbanism, the development of a new community, and a search for the origins of the screwdriver. Home has been translated into ten languages, and was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Prize, while A Clearing in the Distance, a biography of Frederick Law Olmsted, received the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, a Christopher Award, a Philadelphia Athenæum literary award, and was shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction.

His essays appear regularly in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Atlantic, and he has written for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books.

My Two Polish Grandfathers

Peter-Bohlincredit-Nic-LehouxPeter Bohlin is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects 2010 Gold Medal Award, the most prestigious honor awarded by the AIA for a significant body of work that has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Peter is founding principal of the architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, with offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Seattle, and San Francisco. He has designed buildings for colleges and universities and governments across the United States, and recently has become known for the sleek, instantly recognizable Apple Stores he has designed around the world, including New York, London, Paris, and Shanghai. Perhaps best known for his houses, Paul Goldberger of The New Yorker magazine has described Peter Bohlin as a “romantic modernist, determined to use the form of modernism to achieve the emotional impact of traditionalism.”

CraigNovaCraig Nova Craig Nova has won numerous awards for his novels, including the Harper Saxton prize, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim award. He is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities and Letters at the University of Carolina at Greensboro. He says, “A novel is a kind of dream, dressed up as cunningly as possible in the trappings of every day life, but it is the dream that is important.”

Ten Things I know about Writing Novels





Workshop: Poetics of Space – William Black 

Place and Placelessness in Language

Workshop: Rounding Home – Karen Blomain

Rediscovering that elusive spot of safety and comfort where home resides in memory and imagination.

Workshop: Leaving Home – Gail Carson Levine
When we write for children, the adventure is often about leaving. Our hero sets out or is expelled and has to establish a new sanctuary – in the mind, the heart, in a castle, a lair, even a suburban subdivision. We’ll explore the influence of place on plot and character. Then we’ll try our ideas out in writing exercises. Come prepared to write and to share. Gail has been teaching creative writing to kids and young adults for nine years in a summer workshop at the public library in Brewster, NY.

Workshop: Altered Pages – Dan Waber and Jennifer Hill
An exploration of a combination of the visual and language, an exercise in literary production by destruction, a session of creation by elation, a chance to make the process of writing as fun as you remember finger painting was.

Workshop: Improvising the Page – Karen Padden

Applying performance-based improvisation techniques to combat writers block.

Workshop: TLS Times Two Times Ten: The Sequel – Joan Timberlake


Workshop: Making Home – Peter Bohlin

One of our top architects will lead a tour of the house he created as a home for himself and his wife Sally.

Social Networking

Workshop: Blogging and Social Networking for Fun or Profit – Patty Townsend


Workshop: Song, Ritual and Poetry: Signposts Toward Home  – Constance Garcia-Barrio and Elizabeth Gordon
Writing prompts, African-American spirituals, and Yoruba rituals will help clear the way to write poetry from the heart, our true home. (The Yoruba people came from Nigeria to Brazil, Cuba and other parts of the the Americas. Participants of all backgrounds are invited).


Unbelonging: The Homeless Imagination – Samuel Mwangi, Tara Q. Finnerty, M.S. CAC and Craig Czury
It’s difficult to contemplate the meaning of home without considering the lives of those who belong nowhere. This diverse panel of people who have lived and worked among the homeless of many different kinds will discuss the unique coping mechanisms and means of expression homeless people develop.


Reading List

Delights goodSon_ Victory MyTwoPolishGrandfathers_