Folklore Student Association persents
"Living Words: Folklore and Creative Writing Workshop" with Dr. Margaret Yocom
Come play with words. As our workshop opens, we’ll fool around—carefully, though—with word magic, and talk a bit about folklore—what it is, and how it helps us as creative writers and lovers of literature. Then, we’ll head into two ways of re-telling traditional stories and written literary texts that resonate for us. First, we’ll explore a practice of contemporary poetry—erasure poetry—to create a new text and see our old text with new eyes. And then, using a series of writing prompts, we’ll transform a tale we think we know into a poem or another literary form.
No experience in folklore, poetry, or literature required; love of language will carry you through. Bring writing paper, of course, and a pair of scissors and a thick, black (or other dark-colored) felt-tip pen or marker. Also, for our time with erasure poetry, please bring a photocopy (one you are willing to cross out, cut up, or otherwise mutilate) of several favorite poems, or a folktale/ short story / novel segment / non-fiction essay, or a political document you disagree with (think Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s written proposal to cut 13% of state university budget, for example). If you come without a copy, no problem: we’ll bring copies of texts you can use. Questions? Contact Sara Cleto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Folklorist and poet Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Yocom grew up listening to her grandparents’ stories in the Pennsylvania German farmland. Associate Professor Emerita of English at George Mason University, she specializes in oral narrative and storytelling, material culture, family folklore, and folklore and creative writing. She founded the University’s Folklore Studies program and has taught university folklore courses for over 40 years.
She has published on storytelling among loggers in the western mountains of Maine, the Inuit of northwestern Alaska, her Pennsylvania farm family, and on the tales of the Brothers Grimm. Her poetry has appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, the Journal of American Folklore, and elsewhere. Her current projects include a book-length poem based on her translation of the Grimms’ “Allerleirauh” (“All Kinds of Fur”) as well as books on the traditional art and storytelling of the Richard family of Rangeley, Maine. A board member of the Western Maine Storytelling Festival in her new hometown of Farmington, she performs stories on stage, in
classrooms, and around the dinner table. (See- margaretyocom.com. Photo credit- Margaret Yocom personal website)