Welcome! Upcoming workshop at Cache Creek Nature Preserve: THE ART OF DESCRIPTION

Hello, blogosphere, and welcome.

Since many of you who’ll find your way here (at first, anyway!) are Sacramento/Davis area writers who’ve subscribed in the past to my longstanding lit-list, I’m going to kick things off with a reminder about an upcoming workshop I’m excited to start teaching soon…


This group will consider not just Doty’s poems but also his writings on poetry, and examine the truth behind his statement that “What descriptions  – or good ones, anyway – actually describe… is consciousness, the mind playing over the world of matter, finding there a glass various and lustrous enough to reflect back the complexities of the self that’s doing the looking.” While we’ll be observing the same organizing principles we usually do (the first hour of class devoted to discussion, the second hour to independent work at the Preserve site), there will also be official homework and reading between class sessions (some of which will be self-assigned by the participants). This ten-week workshop will meet indoors in the Preserve’s education office on cold or rainy winter days, or outdoors in our gorgeous 130-acre riparian classroom as weather permits. Registrants are required to commit to regular attendance, and will need to purchase copies of Doty’s books “The Art of Description” and “Still Life With Oysters and Lemon.” Early registration is strongly advised; space is limited.

Thursday mornings, 10 AM – 12 PM.

Ten weeks: January 20 – March 24, 2011. (Starts this week!)

Meets at Cache Creek Nature Preserve in rural northwest Woodland, California.

Free to the public. (Donations to Cache Creek Nature Preserve are accepted in any amount to help support the program; no one will be turned away for lack of funds).

To register, simply drop me an email [at rgouirand (at) gmail (dot) com] with your name, email, and phone number. All registered writers will receive an official confirmation email in the week preceding the first class meeting.

I’m overjoyed that the Teichert Foundation has renewed our sustaining grant for 2011 and that I can continue to facilitate these workshops as CCNP’s Writer-in-Residence. Not everyone knows that the Central Valley is home to the only conservancy-sponsored public arts program in the country, even though we’re midway through our ninth season.

The WIR program has offered these workshops free of charge to the public since its genesis in 2002, which has allowed area writers unparalleled access to the structure and stability that local workshops promise those living writing lives. Funded in the past by a variety of grants from the California Arts Council, the TumbleWords Program, Poets & Writers Inc., & the Teichert Foundation, in 2010 the Cache Creek Conservancy kept the program afloat through discretionary funding supplemented by donations to the program and supplemental grants (including one from our beloved neighbor the Davis Food Co-op). The Conservancy’s visionary understanding of the arts as a mode of environmental stewardship provides the greater Sacramento area with an enriching literary resource for writers at all levels of experience.

The Preserve is located in rural Yolo County, five miles northwest of downtown Woodland, California. The 130 acres of outdoor classroom are augmented by indoor offices and an antique barn. The surrounding habitats include riparian forest, wetlands, willow thickets, open water, heritage oak woodlands, and grasslands bordered on one side by Cache Creek.

All interested community members are welcome, regardless of whether or not they already think of themselves as ‘writers.’ The ultimate goal of the WIR workshops is to stimulate new growth, new thinking, and new direction for creative practice. Our outdoor classroom and gathering spirit make this workshop series a unique opportunity for those who would like to grow their creative lives from the support of both human and natural community.


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