February 24, 2020

Poetry at the Zoo
















Leap into Action - Poetry at the Zoo

Saturday, February 29, 2020 1:30 - 4:00 pm
Duluth Zoo.

1:30pm  Lyz Jaakola : song, hand drum, and poems
2:00pm  Marie Zhuikov
2:30pm  Ann Glumac
3:00pm  Sheila Packa

World Wildlife Day
The proceeds go to Zoo Victoria’s Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund.

The Onsgard room is in the main building right down the stairs. 
It can also be reached by elevator. 

Essay Daily: Talk About the Essay: Rebecca McClanahan's Selected List of Literary Gea...

Poetry, prose poems, flash fiction, essayettes, and creative nonfiction often borrow each others forms.

First, structures of poetry and prose that bind the lyric essay:

https://www.assayjournal.com/diana-wilson-laces-in-the-corset-structures-of-poetry-and-prose-that-bind-the-lyric-essay-12.html

Second, this list of possibilities to explore when writing an essay, a poem or a hybrid work:

Essay Daily: Talk About the Essay: Rebecca McClanahan's Selected List of Literary Gea...: In her talk on Imagination and the Essay at AWP 2017, Rebecca McClanahan mentioned that she has a list of 72 (as I wrote it down) moves in c...






February 20, 2020

Approaching the Border

https://vimeo.com/117233282

Poems by Sheila Packa (and voice)
Film, musical composition, and arrangement by Kathy McTavish
Honor song by Liz Jaakola and the Oshkii Giizhik Singers.

This is about trafficking and survival, migration, approaching the border, life, death and rebirth.

This video appeared in an installation "The Road to Williston"
Bakken Boom! Artists Respond to the North Dakota Oil Rush
@ Plains Art Museum January 29, 2015 - August 15, 2015 - Fargo Fred J. Donath Memorial and William and Anna Jane Schlossman Galleries, General Exhibition.

February 10, 2020

Minnesota's Renaissance Women

Duluth and Minnesota Women's History
 


Born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1899, Ethel Ray Nance spent her childhood in an overwhelmingly white community. The daughter of Inga Nordquist Ray, a Swedish immigrant, and William Henry Ray, an African American from North Carolina, Ethel Ray learned at an early age that the color of a person's skin was a determining factor in the treatment he/she received. Ethel Ray Nance had a vision of a world in which "we respond to people not color". She dedicated her life to this vision, spending over seventy years fighting against racism, discrimination and the ill treatment of human beings.

Correspondence:
WEB DuBois correspondence: http://oubliette.library.umass.edu/view/pageturn/mums312-b045-i348/#page/1/mode/1up
Ethel Ray Nance's Letters: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/give/bene56/duboisletters.html
Newspaper Articles:
A Patron of the Arts: Ethel Ray in Harlem: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/09/nyregion/literary-new-york-hurston-s-new-york-her-eyes-were-watching-harlem.html 
Remembering Countee Cullen: http://harlemrenaissancelibrarian.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-harlem-renaissance-friends-biography.html
Oral History
An excerpt from Ethel Ray Nance's oral history: (regarding the lynching in Duluth)
http://collections.mnhs.org/duluthlynchings/html/oraltext_nance.htm

Women in the Harlem Renaissance
http://aawomeninhr.blogspot.com/


February 6, 2020

Climate Emergency & Poetry

Greta Thunberg
"No Time to Lose: Climate Emergency Poetry"
Saturday, March 14th, 7 to 9pm
Wussow's Concert Cafe
324 N. Central Avenue, Duluth
Join several Duluth poets (myself included) to share poems of motivation, optimism, love of nature, sustainability, inclusivity, and poems about the stark reality of climate change.

February 4, 2020

Writing Workshop & Reading in Hibbing



















Sponsored by the Boreal Writers' Guild

Writing Workshop and Reading by Sheila Packa

March 22, 2020 Sunday at 1:00 - 4:00 pm at the Boreal Writers' Guild, 214 East Howard Street, Hibbing, Minnesota: 


Workshop registration: $20

The Iron Range in northern Minnesota has a rich and interesting landscape, history, and people. Using guided writing exercises, participants will draw on their own experiences, memories, family history and landscape to make a story, memoir or poetry. We’ll look at some examples of good writing and play with some interesting and fun approaches. We will also have time to share the stories in our group. This workshop is for beginning and experienced writers.  To register, contact sheilapacka@gmail.com.

The Poetry Reading will be followed by an open reading. 


Sheila Packa is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


February 3, 2020

Upcoming Poetry Readings

Poetry Readings and a March Writing Workshop: 

February 5, 2020 Wednesday 7pm at Zenith Bookstore, Duluth
"An Evening of Poetry with the Finns" will be held Wednesday, Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave, Duluth, Minnesota

The Finlandia Foundation Northland Chapter celebrates Runeberg's Day (Runeberginpäivä), a national holiday in Finland honoring Johan Ludvig Runeberg, the national poet of Finland by offering a night of poetry featuring Finnish, Finnish-American, and Northland poets.

Featured poets include: Gary Boelhower, Daniel and Sandra Oyinloye, James (Jim) Johnson (read by Marlene Wisuri) Sheila Packa, Steve Leppälä, and Johan Ludvig Runeberg (read by Hanna Erpestad). Special Finnish treats "Runeberg Torte" (Runebergintorttu) made by Beatrice Ojakangas will be served. It's free; donations welcome.


March 14th, Saturday, 7 to 9pm at Wussow's Concert Cafe, Duluth, Minnesota
"No Time to Lose: Climate Emergency Poetry"

324 N. Central Avenue, Duluth

Join several Duluth poets (myself included) to share poems of motivation, optimism, love of nature, sustainability, inclusivity, and poems about the stark reality of climate change.

March 22, 2020 Sunday at 1:00 - 4:00 pm at the Boreal Writers' Guild, 214 East Howard Street, Hibbing, Minnesota: 
Writing Workshop and Reading
Workshop registration: $20
The Iron Range in northern Minnesota has a rich and interesting landscape, history, and people. Using guided writing exercises, participants will draw on their own experiences, memories, family history and landscape to make a story, memoir or poetry. We’ll look at some examples of good writing and play with some interesting and fun approaches. We will also have time to share the stories in our group. This workshop is for beginning and experienced writers.
A Poetry Reading by Sheila Packa will be followed by an open reading. 


April 5, 2020 Sunday 10 am at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Virginia, Minnesota
"Poetry and Sacred Texts" presentation of poems and a few excerpts of sacred texts by Sheila Packa


January 27, 2020

Invisible Procession: Writing and Reading, Reading and Writing


Words written in long hand arrive into the hands of a reader. It's a new encounter, like a letter found in a bottle. While reading, an intimate and silent dialogue occurs with the past or with another life experience. Here is part of an exquisite poem "The God Abandons Antony" by C.P. Cavafy that uses the phrase "an invisible procession"-- here is an excerpt:

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.

Aside from the narrative of Antony, the leader losing his country, aside from underlining the need to face one's losses with courage, and other meanings, the poem identifies an individual's cascade of images, memories, and associations.

As the world changes, we might apply this metaphor to our experience.  In our imagination, an invisible procession occurs that can lead to our own creative work. I want to create new works that are evocative and have openings that invite the reader to make multiple meanings.Artists court change. Virginia Woolf said, "...we can read ... with another aim, not to throw light on literature ... but to refresh and exercise our own creative powers." Writers are good readers. Readers are open to enchantment and meditation. Readers are thinkers and dreamers. In the exchange, there is a potential transmission of energy and breath and intimacy that extends beyond one's own life.

Text has two sides, writing and reading. Reading opens doors. It triggers writing.  For me, it is a steady chase. Using an insisting image or something stirred by conversation, writing is an exploration, a way of discovery.  I begin with no expectation—because that is the best way—simply moving my hand across the page, writing the most mundane things and in this process from somewhere comes a word or a phrase that I follow. Getting lost is necessary, and so is way-finding.  I read a lot, and many things at the same time. It's a constellation of other's writings: contemporary and not contemporary essays, stories, poetry and newspapers. I watch movies. I record dreams. I record events and ideas.  I walk.  I bring up dreams, associations, experiments, and reveries. I find an image. This develops into a series of images.

In books, I find stillness and escape. The lamp on my desk shines books splayed downward and others fallen in stair-step patterns up and down. Books I’ve read are turned titles down, spines to the right, and books I plan to read have titles up, spines to the right. I love to read sitting by a window turning the thick pages fragrant with the scent of old libraries and women who wear glasses on gold or silver chains.

I arrived at e-books reluctantly. E-books are static—static as a print book (although this is changing)—but do not give the reader the sensation of a unique object that pleases the sense of touch and smell. The web provides new and different perspectives and languages: virtual reality, online gaming, multiple media and interactivity. A story that goes from print to film often contracts. The visual language and music will carry meaning as well as the words. If that same story is used in interactive gaming, it will expand. Digital media offer new artistic opportunities to make the invisible processions visible. 

With an increasing range and breadth of communication and networks, we select and arrange multiple things, people, places, and experience. We see memes, and we like to participate. We like our videos to go viral. Curation is a system of collecting, organizing and presenting. Patterns have become more apparent and necessary.

As a poet writing on paper and an artist presenting in digital online environments, I consider the reading and writing exchange. I can best describe the web films I've worked on as innovative ways of reading. The projects arrive, and they depart in code. They are mobiles of text, sound, and image. I call them choreotextographies.

I look for metaphors of movement: flows of rivers, wind, and water, bird and animal migrations, human travel and migrations. Also I’m drawn to transformations—metamorphosis, organic growth and decay, alchemy.

Creative work can demand this same process. People change residences, relationships, and/or activities in order to complete an artistic work. Even the choices of words convey how radical the process can be: one executes a piece of art or music.  In current slang, if one is mastering or superbly performing, one is "killing it.'   The old way of doing dies, and a new one arrives. We become part of the artistic piece at the same time as separating from it. Every creative work is an exchange and an act of change.





January 19, 2020

Runeberg Day: In Honor of the Poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg

Poetry Reading: Runeberg Day 
Feb 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm, Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave, Duluth, MN 55807: 

Join the Finlandia Foundation Northland Chapter for a celebration of Runeberg Day, the Finnish holiday celebrating the poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. Free admission, donations accepted. Special treat: Taste the famous Runeberg Torte (Runebergintorttu) made by Beatrice Ojakangas.  


Poets:
Gary Boelhower
Daniel and Sandra Oyinloye
Jim Johnson (read by Marlene Wisuri)
Sheila Packa
Steve Leppälä
The work of Johan Runeberg (read by Hanna Erpestad)



Johan Ludvig Runeberg became the national poet of Finland. One of his poems became the national anthem. It's titled "Maamme" (Finnish: [ˈmɑːmːe]) or "Vårt land" (Finland Swedish: [ˈvoːrt ˈlɑnːd]; both meaning "Our Land").  



Excerpts:


Our country, Finland, land of ours
sing its golden word!
No valley, no hill,
no water, shore more dear
than this northern homeland,
the dear land of our fathers

Our land is poor, and so shall be
To him who gold will crave.
The strangers proudly pass, but we
Shall ever love this land, we see,
In moor, and fell, and isle and wave,
A golden land, so brave.

Thy blossom, hidden now from sight,
Shall burst its bud ere long.
Lo! from our love, shall rise aright,
Thy sun, thy hope, thy joy, thy light,
And higher, once, more full and strong,
Shall ring Our Country’s song.

(Trans. from Swedish by Anna Krook, except the first two lines, which I have translated)

More information about Maamme: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maamme

Listen to the Finnish national anthem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5mTKv40Svg

For a recipe for Runeberg Tortehttps://www.scandikitchen.co.uk/runeberg-cakes/

December 29, 2019

Creativity and Aging


Creativity does not diminish with age. In fact, creativity can actually enhance health and build resilience.  In 2019, I attended a creative aging teaching artist training (sponsored by the Aroha Foundation and Minnesota State Arts Board) and in 2020, I aim to teach writing classes with and for elders. Email me at sheila@sheilapacka.com if you as an individual are interested in attending or if you are part of an organization that is interested sponsoring a class.