SAFTA

Workshops

The Sundress Academy for the Arts hosts the Sundress Workshop Series, a series of creative arts workshops emphasizing composition, revision, and creative development. As part of Sundress Publications, the Sundress Workshop Series provide focused, personalized instruction to writers of all skill levels. Participants are treated to guidance from advanced instructors who help them to not only hone their craft but also find suitable venues for their work.

our bodies, our words: a somatic writing workshop

our bodies, our words: a somatic writing workshop

February 8, 2023, 6:00-7:30PM EST
http://tiny.utk.edu/sundress

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present “our bodies, our words: a somatic writing workshop,” a workshop led by Ashley Bunn on February 8, 2023, from 6-7:30 PM. This event will be held over Zoom. Participants can access the event at tiny.utk.edu/sundress (password: safta).

The goal of this workshop is to create a safe and inclusive space for participants to explore the connection between their physical and subtle bodies and writing. We will move through a variety of somatic experiences and rituals including guided mindfulness (based on Yoga Nidra), breathing techniques, physical postures (based on restorative yoga), and sound healing techniques.

In connection with the somatic experiences, we will have space for generative writing and reflection. The writing aspect will be open and can be applied to any style of writing—although it most easily lends itself to poetry and creative nonfiction. There is no prior experience needed, and this will be accessible for every person and body. The activities will be led with a safe and trauma-informed process.

While there is no fee to participate in this workshop, those who are able and appreciative may make donations directly to Ashley Bunn via Venmo @howellandheal

Ashley Howell Bunn (she/they)  completed her MFA in poetry through Regis University and holds a MA in Literature from Northwestern University. Their work has previously appeared in The Colorado Sun, South Broadway Ghost Society, Global Poemic, Twenty Bellows, patchwork litmag, Mulberry Literary and others. She is an experienced yoga guide and writes a monthly Yoga and Tarot column for Writual.  Their chapbook, in coming light, was published in 2022 by Middle Creek Publishing. She lives in Denver, CO with her child. You can find out more about them at howellandheal.com or on Instagram @howellandheal.

This workshop is brought to you in part by a grant provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Find out about the important work they do here.

Turn! Turn! Turn!: Reimagining the Volta

Turn! Turn! Turn! Reimagining the Volta

March 15, 2023, 6:00-7:30PM EST
http://tiny.utk.edu/sundress

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present “Turn! Turn! Turn! Reimagining the Volta,” a workshop led by Alyse Bensel on March 15, 2023, from 6-7:30 PM. This event will be held over Zoom. Participants can access the event at tiny.utk.edu/sundress (password: safta).

The volta is not just for sonnets. Rather, turns abound in all forms and genres, building tension, generating emotional shifts, and sparking energy. Drawing from formalist traditions, we’ll translate the conventions of received forms into free verse poetry and short prose forms such as micro memoir and flash fiction.

The workshop will begin with a brief overview of the volta’s origins, move into a discussion of contemporary writers such as Joan Naviyuk Kane, Sabrina Orah Mark, and Beth Ann Fennelly, and feature generative writing prompts with an emphasis on turns. There will be opportunities for sharing generated work with the workshop group.

While there is no fee to participate in this workshop, those who are able and appreciative may make donations directly to Alyse Bensel via Venmo @AlyseBensel or PayPal @alysebensel.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, 2020) and three chapbooks. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, Southern Indiana Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference.

This workshop is brought to you in part by a grant provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Find out about the important work they do here.

Cognitive Dissonance Unlocked: Persona Poems that Give More than Poetry

Cognitive Dissonance Unlocked: Persona Poems that Give More than Poetry

April 12, 2023, 6:00-7:30PM EST
http://tiny.utk.edu/sundress

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present “Cognitive Dissonance Unlocked: Persona Poems that Give More than Poetry,” a workshop led by Denise R. Ervin on April 12, 2023, from 6-7:30 PM. This event will be held over Zoom. Participants can access the event at tiny.utk.edu/sundress (password: safta).

A common trend when reading poetry is to conflate the poet with the speaker. The easiest way to unlock the cognitive dissonance of hearing a voice that does not match the person it comes from is to view performances of persona poems from established artists who are masters at the task. Some of these literary greats include Airea Dee Matthews and Patricia Smith. In this 90-minute workshop, we will watch performances and discuss not only the feelings evoked by the poems but how the words and images presented conjure ideals for us that do not match the performer of the words.

Denise R. Ervin is a creative writer hewn from the streets, classrooms, and boardrooms of Detroit, all of which taught her to contribute to the narrative of those who live, love, and look like her. She has spent two decades as a teaching artist, performing poetry around the country, and leading workshops for the likes of Midnight & Indigo and Room Project. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in AADUNA, Harbinger Asylum, Third Wednesday Magazine, and others. Most recently, she was selected as a Writing Fellow by The Watering Hole and a semifinalist for America’s Next Great Author.

While there is no fee to participate in this workshop, those who are able and appreciative may make donations directly to Denise Ervin via Paypal: denise.ervin@hotmail.com; Cash App $deniserervin.

This workshop is brought to you in part by a grant provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Find out about the important work they do here.