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News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 4, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, October 4, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, October 4, 2018
Registration opens for Word festival workshops

Word, the literary arts festival slated for downtown Blue Hill October 18-21, has opened registration for its paid workshops. The festival is offering twice as many workshops as it did in its debut last year, when classes were either at capacity or over-subscribed.

The workshops are fully described at, along with a registration link. Enrollment is limited, so timely registration is suggested.

Baron Wormser, a biographer, novelist and the former Maine Poet Laureate, will lead a two-hour reading and discussion workshop for adults and teens on “The Ways of Biography.” Wormser will discuss how an author gets at the essence of a life, using empathy to “find ways into the notions and feelings that drove the person.” Wormser’s workshop will be Saturday morning.

Also Saturday morning, “Five Forms of Poetry with Mihku Paul” will be a three-hour workshop examining how structure can be useful as “the house where language lives.” Participants will be asked to choose one form—epistolary, triolet, sonnet, villanelle or elegy—and begin building a new poem. A Maliseet, Paul teaches creative writing at the University of New England and through Gedakina, an organization dedicated to supporting indigenous culture. She read her poetry during Word’s debut Poetry Crawl last year.

Novelist Alice Lichtenstein will teach a workshop titled “Transformations: Autobiography into Fiction” Saturday afternoon. A series of writing experiments will help participants uncover significant memories and experiences as a basis for stories and novels. Lichtenstein is the author of three novels: The Genius of the World, Lost and The Crime of Being, due out in 2019. She teaches creative writing at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., and lives in Surry during the summer.

Saturday afternoon, poet, translator and essayist Bea Gates will teach a three-hour poetry and prose workshop called “The Words to Say It.” The focus will be on unearthing stories from such diverse sources as “our lives, dreams, memories and the world at hand,” using writing exercises and selected reading samples. A Brooksville resident, Gates is the author of four books of poetry as well as essays, translations, and hybrid pieces. She has been a fellow at the McDowell Colony and Ucross Foundation, and is on the MFA faculty at Goddard College. Gates also participated in last year’s Poetry Crawl.

Poet and songwriter Henry Finch will lead a three-hour Saturday afternoon songwriting workshop, analyzing songs from around the world and offering participants the tools for composing songs of their own. Prior musical knowledge and experience is greatly encouraged but not necessary. Another Poetry Crawl alumnus, Finch is a much-published poet and experienced teacher, including in local schools. He performs his songs solo and with groups in Maine and Vermont.

On Sunday afternoon, award-winning novelist Oisín Curran will teach “Fictional Confabs,” a workshop on literary dialogue. He will offer technical, philosophical and creative approaches to writing conversations within an authorial monologue. Curran’s second novel, Blood Fable, won this year’s 2018 Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award; his first, Mopus, won him designation as a “writer to watch” from CBC: Canada Writes. He grew up in Surry and now lives in Cape Breton with his wife, fellow novelist Sarah Faber, and their two children.

Word will feature free hands-on workshops for children on Saturday morning: “Fairies and Flower Crowns” with author Bundy Boit and illustrator Deb Belyea, and “Animal Draw-along” with author/illustrator Hazel Mitchell.

For all ages, Portland’s The Telling Room will offer a free writing workshop Saturday morning and a free nature-writing workshop Sunday afternoon after a panel of Maine authors who write about “place.”

Check Word’s website for a full schedule of free readings, talks, the annual poetry crawl, a new art exhibit and open-mic storytelling.

Word has funding from the Maine Arts Commission, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, Camden National Bank, TradeWinds Market Place, and individual donors. Additional support comes from Blue Hill Books, Blue Hill Public Library and WERU-FM Community Radio.

Questions can be addressed to or Blue Hill Books at 374-5632.