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the Middle Ground Project

Poetry from summer workshops by Kathryn Winograd

Classroom Session: The Transformations of Land into Self
Surrealism: Based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association heretofore neglected, in the omnipotence of the dream, and in the disintterested play of thought [Andre Breton, Surrealist Manifesto, 1924]

Crazy Poems of Question and Answer: A Short Exercise
1. Everyone writed down two 'What is' questions on small separate pieces of paper. On two other separate pieces of paper write down two totally unrelated 'answers' as separate descriptive statements or phrases that come from your journal.
Example Questions: What is a light year? What is Love?
Example Answers: It is a red, red shoe splashing through rain puddles. It is horses grazing It is beneath the quiet. It is shadow. It is of a cloud.

2. We'll gather questions and answers into two separate piles and then randomly choose a question and then an answer and read them together.

Click here to read examples of questions and answers


Group Poem after Field Session: The Concreteness of Land
Journal Entries

1. The Silence of Hearing: to begin, close your eyes. Listen to the sounds and the "between" sounds. Write down as closely as you can the sounds you hear. Example: hiss of dry grass, drone of black fly.
2. The Art of "Not Seeing": choose a partner. You will take turns being blind-folded and lead around by your partner. What do you feel with your hands? Your face? Your feet? What do you smell? When you are done "not seeing," take off your blind fold and write your impressions down as specifically and concretely as you can.
3. Eye of the Poet: choose a one yard square section of land. Sketch what you see in that one yard down to the fallen seed half hidden in the winter dirt.
4. Plucking the Web: describe what you see that is celestial, of the plant kingdom, the kingdom animals, minerals, of man, time of day, seasonal details, how you feel, others in your family that come to mind here. Again, be as specific as possible, as detailed as possible using concrete and sensory language.

Click here to read poetry from Silver Creek
Click here to read poetry from Red Lake


Other Documents from Kathryn Winograd
Landscape of the Self and Poems from the Navajo Nation

Poetry composed by participants in the academy
A Place of Beauty by Larry Sorensen
Presidential Academy Writting

Nora Young
Maria DeGracia
Sahara Joe
Lorraine Honie
Diana Williams

Presidential Academy in American History and Civics Education: Contact for this page: Cassie Roller | Last updated: 1/26/12