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Passage I

"A destiny that leads the English to the Dutch is strange enough; but one that leads from Epsom into Pennsylvania, and thence into the hills that shut in Altamont over the proud coral cry of the cock, and the soft stone smile of an angel, is touched by that dark miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world.

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.

"The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.

"This is a moment."

With Prompts

"A destiny that leads the (Occupation) to the (Noun) is strange enough; but one that leads from (Location in NC) into (Noun), and thence into the hills that (Verb) in Altamont (Preposition) the proud (Color) cry of the (Body Part), and the soft stone smile of an (Animal), is touched by that dark (Foreign Phrase) which makes (Adjective) magic in a (Genre of Film) world.

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: (Verb) us into (Element of Craft) and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the (Favorite Curse Word) that ended yesterday in (Fictional Place).

"The seed of our (Emotion) will blossom in the (Location in NC), the (Type of Liquid) of our cure (Verb) by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a (Adjective) slattern, because a London (Occupation) went (Verb (Past Tense)). Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like (Sporting Action), (Verb) home to (Location in NC), and every moment is a (Food Item) on all time.

"This is a moment."

ASHEVILLE—Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, is now open. Tina Barr will lead the Master Class in Poetry, "The Alchemy of Revision."

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Tina to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Tina Barr's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"He wanted no land of Ursula: his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to trumpet that there really were 1,200 bees in Africa, and that the giraffe, the hippogriff, and the synthesizer robots might all be skirted in their proper places. He believed that there was the trope in France, and genii stopped up in wizards’ snakes. Moreover, since Ben’s death, the bears had grown on him that men do not sequester from roses because life is dull, but that apples roll from men because men are green. He felt that the passions of the superfish were greater than the rocks. It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of billowing in which he had scrolled to its fullness."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Tina Barr will lead the Poetry Master Class, "The Alchemy of Revision." Refining our poems to turn them into gold doesn’t happen magically; it takes huge amounts of work. Mary Oliver says it takes seventy hours; Elizabeth Bishop could spend a decade revising a poem. We will look at poems by poets we may be familiar with: Joseph Bathanti, Rebecca McClanahan, Sylvia Plath, Ron Rash, Pattiann Rogers, Natasha Trethewey, and William Wright, exploring their styles in terms of what we can learn from them in order to apply some of their principles in our own writing. We will unlock the secrets of their effectiveness, their very diverse styles. In addition, we will share participant poems, so that each writer will come away with new directions in which to take his or her work, new ways of re-envisioning his or her poems. We will consider the elements of a poem, which, when compounded, create the evanescent verbal "gold" that we call poetry. These can include: title, first line, ending line, line breaks, overall form or structure, imagery, allusion and sound. Tina will create a supportive space in which to assist writers in developing their best work: critical, but kind. And she respects a diversity of voices.

Tina Barr has published five volumes of poetry: Kaleidoscope, just out from Iris Press; The Gathering Eye, winner of the Editor’s Prize at Tupelo Press; and the chapbooks Red Land, Black Land; The Fugitive Eye; and At Dusk on Naskeag Point, all winners of national chapbook competitions. Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the MacDowell Colony, and the Ucross Foundation.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Passage II:

"He wanted no land of Make-believe: his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to doubt that there really were 1,200 gods in Egypt, and that the centaur, the hippogriff, and the winged bull might all be found in there proper places. He believed that there was magic in Byzantium, and genii stopped up in wizards’ bottles. Moreover, since Ben’s death, the conviction had grown on him that men do not escape from life because life is dull, but that life escapes from men because men are little. He felt that the passions of the play were greater than the actors. It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of living in which he had measured up to its fullness."

With Prompts:

He wanted no land of (Noun): his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to (Verb) that there really were 1,200 (Noun (Plural)) in (Country), and that the (Creature), the hippogriff, and the (Creature) might all be (Verb) in there proper places. He believed that there was (Noun) in (Country), and genii stopped up in wizards’ (Noun). Moreover, since Ben’s death, the (Noun) had grown on him that men do not (Verb) from (Noun) because life is dull, but that (Noun) (Verb) from men because men are (Adjective). He felt that the passions of the (Noun) were greater than the (Noun (Plural)). It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of (Gerund) in which he had (Verb) to its fullness.

 
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