Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cape May Poetry & Prose Getaway

It's snowing! For Cape May, at least when I'm in town, this is rare. This has been a wonderful weekend of writing and writers at the Grand Hotel, and the snow is just an additional joy. I brought a bagful of folders each containing an idea, and another bagful of books to consult. I'm leaving with an essay that has evolved over the two days into something really interesting. It's not what I had planned but it is better and fuller thanks to the helpful critiques of the members of my group, Jan, Sheila, Dave, Janet, and John, and our insightful teacher, Thomas Peele. We still have tomorrow morning's session, but i'm already looking forward to next year.

I loved my hotel room--an efficiency, really, with a microwave, fridge, electric burners and dishes, flatware, and cookware. This could be my permanent office. I can sit and work at the table and see the ocean OR close the drapes and immerse myself in total seclusion. I will have to do this again next year. (The organizer, Peter Murphy, is also running an event in Wales. Ooh.)

Tonight I attended the Getaway Cafe: participant and teacher book sale and signing, poetry reading by Pulitzer-Prize-Winning poet Stephen Dunn, songs by Nancy Falkow, and DIY ice cream sundaes. I bought one of Stephen Dunn's books and got it signed--in it are poems featuring various long-gone authors visiting contemporary New Jersey shore towns. His poems can make you laugh or rip your heart out--so much meaning in just a few words. I also picked out Robbie Clipper Sethi's The Bride Wore Red: tales of a cross-cultural family. Ms. Sethi and I chatted at the first evening's program. She teaches English at Rider University and got me interested in reading her own work.

All-in-all, it has been a wonderful, productive weekend, and now it's snowing!

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