National Writing Project

Blending of Voice and Place at Rural Sites Spring Retreat

By: Laura Paradise
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 8, No. 3
Date: May-June 2003

Summary: 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."

 

The retreat couldn't have been sweeter—
anointed by holy water and smiled on by the sun.
Now, this is our Tucson.

—from a reflection by Sharon Miller,
Pat Garrison, and Anne-Marie Hall of the Southern Arizona Writing Project

Beginning with a pre-retreat writing marathon in Sabino Canyon, the 2003 National Writing Project Rural Sites Spring Retreat, February 28–March 2 in Tucson, Arizona, was true to its theme, "Blending Voice and Place." Nearly 60 people joined author Richard Shelton to kick off the retreat in the beautiful desert landscape. Shelton read poems and selections from his essays and entertained the group with stories of native wildlife. By evening, the hikers had crafted a variety of pieces that were later shared with other retreat participants.

Nearly 150 teachers from 46 states attended the biennial Rural Sites Network (RSN) event. Organized by the RSN leadership team in collaboration with host site the Southern Arizona Writing Project, the retreat was a wellspring of workshops, with 18 sessions offered in one day. Other featured presenters included G. Lynn Nelson and Native Images on Friday evening and keynote speaker Tom Romano demonstrating and discussing multigenre writing on Saturday morning.

Thanks to the host site, retreat participants sampled local flavors, authors, and entertainers throughout the event. The Rincon High School String Quartet greeted participants at the Friday night reception, mariachis and folklorico dancers performed during Saturday lunch, and the Composition Blues Band played at the Saturday reception. Banquet table displays offered student writing, local artifacts, and postcards for participants to complete should they desire to correspond with student authors.

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 multigenre compositions, drawing on individual writings and reflections crafted while in Tucson. After individual writing time and work in small groups, table after table stood to present their multigenre pieces. The result was indeed a blending of voice and place. For more information on the Rural Sites Spring Retreat, see archive.nwp.org/cs/public/print/programs/rsn?x-t=events.view.

PDF Download "Blending of Voice and Place at Rural Sites Spring Retreat"

© 2024 National Writing Project