Word Works: Ellen Bass on "Controlled Chaos," co-presented by LiTFUSE

Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 7pm

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A certain kind of poem, story, or essay reaches out a long arm and sweeps disparate, unexpected things into its net. It scoops in a great deal of material that is more or less obviously related. It doesn’t hug the shore. It doesn’t walk a narrow line. It retains a kind of wildness. It can seem untamed. And yet all the elements have enough magnetic or gravitational attraction, enough resonance, that the writing feels organically whole. We’ll look at examples of the long-armed poem and I will give some practical suggestions for how you might experiment with bringing more controlled chaos into your own writing.

Jeanne Morel will conduct a Q&A with Bass after the talk, with opportunities for audience questions.


Hugo House is grateful to LiTFUSE for making Ellen Bass available in Seattle for the Words Work series. LiTFUSE is an annual poets workshop held at Mighty Tieton, open to all voices. LiTFUSE would love to welcome you to Tieton Sept. 25-27.  More information and registration at LiTFUSE.us

Ellen Bass's poetry includes Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), and Mules of Love (BOA, 2002).  She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women(Doubleday, 1973). Her non-fiction books include The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse(HarperCollins, 1988, 2008) and Free Your Mind: The Book for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth (HarperCollins, 1996). Her work has frequently been published in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as many other journals. Among her awards are a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fellowship from the California Arts Council, two Pushcart Prizes, The Lambda Literary Award, Elliston Book Award, Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod/Hardman, Larry Levis Prize from Missouri Review, and the New Letters Prize. She lives in Santa Cruz, California, and teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University. www.ellenbass.com

TRAFFIC NOTE: President Xi of China will be visiting Seattle September 22-24. September 23 will include the complete closure of midtown Seattle (4th to 7th, Olive to Lenora) to vehicular traffic. Pedestrian traffic will be subject to personal searches, including pat-downs and bag checks. Over 20 bus routes will be rerouted. The Interstates will be operating with reduced lanes, and will be closed outright for periods when the motorcade is in transit. The South Lake Union streetcar will not run to downtown. More info here: http://onthemove.seattle.gov/2015/09/18/seattle-plans-for-traffic-during-visit-of-chinese-delegation/#sthash.pnMS761R.dpuf