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Moments of Being: Sensing Past and Present - a Currents free workshop

Moments of Being: Sensing Past and Present - writing workshop with Bea Gates,

part of a series of free art classes in 2022, with support from the Maine Community Foundation Expansion Arts grants.

Two half-day workshops, 9:30am -12:30pm

Saturday, May 14 & Sunday, May 15, 2022

To register, contact Bea Gates: ( 207-812-6729

Open to all genres and open to ages of 12 and above. No pets please.

“… I think that I have discovered a possible form for these notes ... to make them include the present – at least enough of the present to serve as a platform to stand upon… to make the two people, I now, I then, come out in contrast. And further this past is much affected by the present moment. What I write today I should not write in a year’s time.”

--Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being, Autobiographical Writings

By taking moments from memory—sensing the sounds, sights and tenor of a significant setting, unfinished conversation, or scene of peaceful or broken connection— we will write into our experience. I will bring in some selections from other writers across genres for inspiration and prompts to take off from. We will follow the warm ups by writing together over a longer period to leap from immediate sensing into echoes of other experience and thoughts about the past. We will begin to explore how locating the “I now, I then”, that Woolf talks about, is a way to access changing meanings in our lives.

The second part of the workshop will allow questions from the previous day’s work to be part of writing towards creating contrast and relationships between past and present with the “I, now, I, then” awareness. We will let questions come into the work and become tributaries to expand the content of the day before--not by pushing for answers, but by opening to patterns of sensing and thought. Thinking can be part of exploring and is allowed space on the page. Questions are a natural path to move meaning forward. Lastly, we will take a look at the power of contrast, and talk about the process of discovering shifting meanings in small groups.

Beatrix Gates’ New & Selected Poems will be published by Thera Books in 2023. She has been writing, publishing, teaching and advocating for poetry for over 45 years. Her six collections include Dos, Lambda Poetry finalist, In the Open, and desire lines, a map of migration, forced and chosen, published in a letterpress edition by Artifact Press. Her prose and hybrid work appear in Jane Cooper: A Radiance of Attention (Michigan) and “For Orlando: Make Beautiful in Maine” in Scotland’s MAP,

In fall 2021, Close Apart: Poetry by Beatrix Gates and etchings by Tim Seabrook, with color by Leslie Cummins, opened the Word. Festival, with a documentary commissioned from Matt Shaw supported by the Anahata Foundation. Close Apart is up at Back Light Grafika in Blue Hill, Maine (

A 2021 finalist for the Maine Chapbook Series, judged by Melissa Febos, Gates’ has received Poetry Fellowships from MacDowell, Maine Arts Commission, Monson Arts, Ucross, VCCA and as the Huntington Library’s Jutzi Non-Traditional Scholar. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and BA from Antioch College.

A long-time Goddard MFA faculty member, she has taught at Colby College, NYU, CCNY, Maine Maritime Academy, a women’s prison, and many libraries. She founded Granite Press, a feminist press (1975-89), and published Grace Paley’s first book of poetry, Leaning Forward, the bilingual IXOK AMAR.GO: Central American Women Poets for Peace and letterpress editions by Rosa Lane and Jean Valentine. The University of New England’s Maine Women Writers Collection houses the Granite Press & hopalong press Book Arts Archive (1973-1989). The Poetry Northwest Interview details her path to poetry, politics and publishing: She grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has lived in NYC, and has roots in Hancock, Maine. She serves on the Board of The Cannery and she lives in Brooksville, Maine. (

All class participants and instructors must be fully vaccinated. The sanctuary has a new air purifier for safety, and we will be following Maine CDC guidelines. KN 95 mask from Bonafide will be provided by RFS at the beginning of the day.


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