WMS Hosts The Frost Place Festival and Conference on Poetry

Megan Sweeney
Martha Rhodes, Director of The Frost Place Festival and Conference on Poetry, discusses the Festival, the poets, and the wonderful time they had on WMS’s campus.
by Martha Rhodes, Director of The Frost Place Festival and Conference on Poetry

Since 2010, The Frost Place of nearby Franconia has held its annual week-long Festival and Conference on Poetry at The White Mountain School, this year from July 15-21. The conference always focuses on the craft of reading, writing and revising poetry. The award-winning faculty gave talks and classes each morning and led workshops in the afternoons.

Built into the schedule was time for writing, reading and revising. In the evening, we carpooled over to The Frost Place’s Henry Holt Barn for faculty, guest, and participant readings. Guest readers this year included The Frost Place Resident Poet, Paula Bohince as well as Meg Kearney of New Ipswich, Dartmouth College’s Cleopatra Mathis (a long-time Frost Place friend), and The Frost Place Executive Director, Maudelle Driskell. Each night, a local member of the community joined us for our Frost is in the Air program by reading her favorite Frost poem and sharing the context for her choice. WMS Board Chair Emerita Ruth Cook was one such reader. And after a full day and evening, back at the ranch, we enjoyed more conversation, guitar playing, and singing in the Great Hall.

The White Mountain School has played a key role in helping The Frost Place to rejuvenate its program by providing a comfortable and beautiful setting for the group whose participants have spanned in age from 17-86 over the past few years. Staying under one roof makes for a more intimate and dynamic community. WMS Summer Programs’ Ben Mirkin has worked hard with us each year to ensure that the conference runs smoothly. And it does!

The Frost Place Festival and Conference on Poetry strives to bring a greater depth of understanding regarding the process of creating art. As poets, we need to make many decisions. What do we include in our poem? What needs to be put aside? Where do we begin the poem? End it? What words do we actually use? How do we address the order of telling on the level of the very sentence (syntax)? Like any art form, poetry is about the management of material, not just the expression of content.

Plans are underway to return to WMS in 2013 (and beyond) and we hope that more writers will join us for a week of poetry boot camp.

Martha Rhodes
Director, The Frost Place Festival and Conference on Poetry

For information regarding our programs, please contact Maudelle Driskell, Executive Director at mdriskell@frostplace.org and visit us at www.frostplace.org.

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