Greetings, Poetry Lovers! This week I had the wonderful opportunity to present a workshop for the young creators of the 2020 Camp Conroy. Pat Conroy was a devoted and lifelong teacher at heart, as you might know about the acclaimed author, beloved around the world as well as here in his own Lowcountry. For the third year, the Pat Conroy Literacy Center has assembled a team of top-notch creative teachers who spend a couple of weeks in intensive workshopping and creating with eager participants. An extra person is brought in here or there, and I got to be one of those folks this year! Of course, when I signed on months ago, who knew we would all be doing these things v-i-r-t-u-a-l-l-y.....?
But Center Director Jonathan Haupt and his fearless Camp Conroy team - Miho Kinnas, Lisa Anne Cullen, and Robin Prince Monroe - (three amazing published writers, poets, teachers and visual artists - look 'em up!) embraced the challenge and have been offering a lively and nurturing experience via Zoom. One bonus of this arrangement this year is that a few young creators are chiming in from other parts of the world, contributing their own creations to what the local Campers will produce as group projects and collections.
"This is our chance to share a little bit of Camp Conroy's Great Love with all of those sheltering and educating at home this summer," they say. Plans are for local participants to gather in July for an in-person event celebrating the unveiling of this year's "Camp Conroy Book."
I led a Found Poem Mixed Media Collage workshop, much like the one I led for Poetry Camp out in Bellingham, Washington, a few years ago, and have since offered in Beaufort, too. But how to do this from a distance? Now, that was a little trickier.
First, I made supply kits for each participant and added them to the big pre-Camp mailing the Center was doing. Check.
Then, I recorded a how-to video - my first time trying such a thing. Should be a piece of cake, I thought, having posted all those poem-reading videos on my Robyn Hood Black YouTube Channel in April. Right? Well, the recording part took a while (this is usually a 90-minute to two-hour workshop, after all), but thanks to my new little phone tripod, I got it done.
Then I put all the pieces parts together, editing and chopping, editing and chopping. Then I tried to upload the video.
"Mwaaa - haaaa - haaaaa" laughed all the invisible techno-gods in unison at my hubris. I tried uploading to YouTube, on my heretofore unused artsyletters Channel. Hours and hours (a couple of different overnights, even....) - No Go. Stuck at 99 percent and then - failure. I tried uploading to the Center's Dropbox. Hours and hours... well, you get the picture.
So here's a tip, stumbled onto after bleary-eyed days of looking for some magical virtual key - worth your reading of this post, if nothing else: to upload a video longer than 15 minutes to YouTube, you have to have a verified account. What's a verified account? You go to settings (I think - it's all a blur) and look around for the "Verify account" option. Then, you simply type in your cell phone number or email address and wait for one of those handy six-digit codes banks often use to make sure you are you and not a robot. Type in the six numbers, and - poof! You're verified. And your - cough-cough - 48-minute cinematic feat might just upload in less than two hours, and process fairly quickly after that. (Insert emoji with hand slapping forehead right about here.)
Back to poetry. So the video was made accessible, and the young campers had a day or two to work on their collages before we all "met" on Wednesday afternoon. As always when working with kids, I was amazed at their creativity and fresh perspectives. Some were still working on theirs, but several pieces were to a finished or at least share-able stage. Such talented writers and artists!! I'm always energized seeing what creative young folks come up with. Oh, and the three teachers played along in a closing found-poem activity, too - I can tell they are all having as much fun as the kids.
Above you see the collage I made as a sample. The text is from a 1960-ish EduCard featuring a science experiment. I "found" a poem about balance because: 1.) There's a wonderful yoga studio above the Literary Center; 2.) I've been inspired by so many people taking a Stand lately; and, 3.) I probably - nope, definitely - need a little more balance in my life.
Anyway, here is the poem:
Keep in Balance
earth pulls everthing
to center. This place
will not fall
when your body is
bring your center
and see what happens.
Poem found by Robyn Hood Black.
If you're looking for a creative project to wile away a summer day, or if you need an activity for kids or grandkids or such, feel free to have a look at the video I made! There's a mini studio tour at the beginning. It's a bit choppy, with my crazed efforts at making it shorter so it would load somewhere, etc., but you'll get the steps. You can adapt this project to materials you have handy, and improvise away, too!
Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVo_d5CqgBs
Wishing you a balanced weekend during which you find lots of poetry... you can start over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, where the lovely Tricia has our Roundup this week! (Program Note - I'll be taking a wee little break for the next couple of Fridays, but see you in July! And, if you don't get my quarterly(-ish) artsyletters newsletter, I'll be sending one out soon; you can sign up here. ) Thanks, and take good care!