The Gathering 2015 – The Story

The Story 2015

At The Gathering 2015, we will explore intersections of personal lives and world events through the theme “The Story.”  We will transcend cultural boundaries and consider social justice issues through the arts, literature, and sciences.  Featured artists, performers, poets, and authors were invited because their work focuses on the profoundly personal impact of events in the global arena.


Anita Hill is well known for her courageous testimony before Congress in the 1991 Supreme Court nomination hearings for Clarence Thomas. She is Professor of Law, Public Policy, and Women’s Studies at Heller Graduate School of Policy and Management, Brandeis University. She is an advocate for equality and civil rights, and author of two books: Reimagining Equality:  Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home and Speaking Truth to Power.

Speaking Truth to Power

CLE credit provided by the Lackawanna Bar Association.


Katherine Boo photoKatherine Boo is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, which won the National Book Award in 2012. She is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers



Denver Butson photo

Denver Butson has published three books of poetry, including illegible address (Luquer Street Press), plus poems in several anthologies, and in dozens of literary journals, including Yale ReviewOntario Review, and Caliban.  His poems have also been featured several times on National Public Radio’s Writer’s Almanac (chosen and read by Garrison Keillor) and in the Library of Congress’s Poetry 180 program.  Thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Butson was a New York Foundation for the Arts Individual Artist Fellow.  About Denver Butson, former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins says “his imagination unlocks for us the cells of reason and sets us loose in a world of dizzying possibilities.”

the world cannot bear the weightlessness of sparrows: a poetry reading


Constance Garcia-Barrio is a poet, journalist, folklore scholar, novelist, and Yoruba priestess. She writes commentary pieces for The Philadelphia Inquirer and other publications. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been published in numerous collections and reviews. Constance has traveled extensively to investigate connections between the folklore of Latin America and West Africa, and she is the author of  Blood Grip, a novel based on Black history in Philadelphia, where she lives.

A Bouquet of African Heritage Stories



Gina Nahai (1)Gina Nahai’s first novel, Cry of the Peacock, chronicled, for the first time in a Western language, the 3000-year history of the Jewish people of Iran. Based on laborious research and oral history interviews, the novel weaves history, politics, and personal stories into a single narrative thread. Gina’s other novels and essays have similarly integrated family lore and factual events. “Why write fiction when 90% of what you report is true?” Gina will address this and other questions in her talk on The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. by Akashic Books, and Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith, paperback by Washington Square Press.

Oral History: How I Wrote My Way through 3000 Years of Stories


Kerry Roe photoKerry Roe  is an Assistant Professor in the Keystone College Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her recent academic work examines turn-of-the-twentieth-century debates about Native American citizenship and sovereignty– particularly as they were further complicated by conceptions of race, U.S. imperialism, and the First World War.

“The Indian Problem,” “The Woman Question,” and “The White Man’s Burden”: Examining the Relationships between Race, Gender, and Citizenship In Turn of the 20th Century US




Adwoa Badoe photoAdwoa Badoe grew up in Ghana and has lived in Guelph, Ontario, since 1992.  She has published 16 books and contributed to anthologies in North America, Europe and Africa. Her books include a collection of folktales, picture-books, and a young adult novel, Between Sisters. Her next novel will be published in 2016. A much sought after storyteller, she has staged and recorded books set to music and dance.

On The Tip of My Tongue: African Stories



Donna Fetzko offers yoga classes for all levels. As an instructor certified through Yoga Alliance and trained in the Yogafit style, a nutritionist, and a health educator, she believes in a holistic approach to wellness. She has been bringing the benefits of yoga to area schools, businesses, and the community at large for over five years.


Each Day is a Gift to Experience, Embrace, Enjoy
Begin the day focused and balanced, ready for self-discovery with a morning yoga practice. Yoga promotes physical, mental, and spiritual health, and it can be done by everyone. Daily practice presented in the user-friendly, demystified, safe, and effective Yogafit style. Come prepared with comfortable clothes, a mat, towel or blanket, and water.


Natural Science

Workshop: How Did This Get Here? A Brief History of Bees on the Back Campus – Jared Jaffe
Join a guided tour of the orchard and apiary on Keystone College’s Woodland Campus.  Take a vigorous 20-minute hike up the mountain on a walking trail (or take a ride in an all-wheel vehicle). At the top, Jared will give a brief synopsis of the origins of Keystone College’s honey bees that are nestled among our mature apple trees.


Workshop: Finding Story through Character and ImprovisationRhonda Keyser

In this workshop, writers will collaborate through improvisation to discover story. Working from a pre-determined set of circumstances, the group will organically build character through fast-paced exercises that stitch together plot and develop into story.
Please come in comfortable clothing and be ready to move.


Workshop: Poetry Master Class – The Poem is the Story of the PoemDenver Butson
In this workshop, writers will explore how all elements of a poem — including but not limited to the narrative details — contribute to its “story,” how sound, form, image and empty space are all part of the truth of a poem. Moreover, we will discuss how poems are about truth without having to be about THE truth.


Workshop: The Changer and the Changed: Story as WitnessElizabeth K. Gordon

Most of us have experienced some form of unfairness or injustice. We have been victims, onlookers, and maybe even unwitting perpetrators. To remain silent is to remain victim, bystander, or perpetrator. By telling our stories, expressing our emotions and insights, and envisioning a healed world we become “the changer and the changed.” In this workshop, we will create personal narratives and open space for reflection and transformation. Sharing welcomed but not required.


Workshop: Dancing to African Drum Adwoa Badoe (accompanied on drum by Fule)


Workshop: Principles of Dramatic StructureGina Nahai’s

What do you need to tell a good story? Gina will discuss the basic elements of story-telling, invite participants to create a cohesive arc/synopsis for their own stories, and then examine the work with the group.


Workshop: Some Things Have to Be Believed to Be Seen: How to Get a Book Written and PublishedLynn Yeakel

Visual Art

Workshop: Art & Spirit: The Tapestry of Our LivesJudith Lynn Keats
Each man’s life represents a road toward himself. – Herman Hesse

In this engaging workshop, you will create a personal visual “Life Map Tapestry” that is a reflection of your own individual life story. You will explore and reflect upon those major “choice points and passages” that can shape your past, present, and future life line, and help to define who you are and your intentions for health, happiness, and well-being. You will also discover how to access a personal symbolic visual language that can give expression and meaning to the inner light of the soul and become the basis of your Life Map Tapestry design. This workshop integrates contemplation, writing, creative drawing, and imagery.


Reading List

Speaking Truth to Power Behind the Beautiful Forevers The Luninous Heart of Jonah S.- illegible address