National Writing Project

Rural Sites Network Events

Rural Sites Network Spring Retreat

A True Blending of Voice and Place

February 28 – March 2, 2003

Tucson, Arizona

Beginning with a pre-retreat writing marathon in Sabino Canyon, the 2003 RSN Spring Retreat held February 28 - March 2, 2003 in Tucson, Arizona, was true to its theme, "Blending Voice and Place." Despite chilly weather, nearly sixty people joined author Richard Shelton to kick off the retreat in the beautiful desert landscape. Shelton read poems and selections from his Bisbee essays and entertained the group with stories of native wildlife. By evening, the group had hiked and crafted a variety of pieces that would later be shared with other retreat goers. Nearly 150 teachers from 46 states attended the biennial RSN event. The program was a wellspring of workshops, with eighteen sessions offered in just one day. Two strands specifically related to instructional issues of Voice and Place. Topics were further categorized by focus, such as site development, technology, and connection to NWP. The retreat was organized by the RSN leadership team in collaboration with a devoted local host team at the Southern Arizona Writing Project site. Thanks to the host site, participants sampled local flavors, authors and entertainers. The Rincon High School String Quartet greeted participants at the opening Friday night reception, mariachis and folklorico dancers performed during Saturday lunch, and the Composition Blues Band played at the Saturday reception. Banquet tables contained displays of student writing, local artifacts, and postcards for participants to complete should they desire to correspond with student authors. Featured presenters included G. Lynn Nelson and Native Images on Friday evening and keynote speaker Tom Romano on Saturday morning, demonstrating and discussing multigenre writing. Closing as it began, the retreat focused on writing at the Sunday morning session. Ellen Brinkley, RSN leadership team chair and Tom Romano led the group in developing multi-genre compositions, drawing on individual writings and reflections crafted while in Tucson. After twenty minutes of individual writing time and a solid half-hour of work in small groups, table after table stood in the banquet hall and read their multi-genre pieces. The result was indeed a blending of voice and place.
  • Link to photos from the retreat, courtesy of the Southern Arizona Writing Project.
  • Articles

    Tucson Ready for the Rural Sites Retreat (2003)
    National Writing Project site leaders and teacher-consultants are invited to attend the NWP Rural Sites Spring Retreat, "Blending Voices and Place: A Rural Sites Network Reflection Retreat," in Tucson, Arizona, February 28–March 2, 2003.

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