Ric & April Masten to lead a workshop in Western Mass.
October 28-30, 2005
at Rowe Conference Center in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts
A “people’s poet,” “a priest and a preacher,” “poet and philosopher,” Ric Masten is recognized today as the creator of a unique genre of inspirational and spiritual poems meant to be spoken rather than read. Ric’s unusual candor, wit, insight, stand-up manner, and honesty address the magic that is in every moment in life – if we would but notice. Ric will offer us a series of presentations that will serve as ink blots to examine our own lives. We’ll explore why families matter and what keeps them going — full circle from grandparents to parents to spouses to children to grandchildren. We’ll explore growing up and growing old, youth and aging.
Ric and his daughter April will both share Ric’s poems. April will share some of her own, as well as dances that are easy and fun and get our energies circulating. Ric’s life shows that sharing creates intimacy and love, so we’ll all share some of our own lives. Bring your journals and we’ll write together. Robert Frost said, “When you want to do a ‘think,’ write about it.”
Saturday night will be a “live the metaphor” evening. We will Let It Be a Dance as April teaches dancing as a way to reconnect the mind and the body. We’ll join in a 19th Century reel, which is easy to learn, fun to do, and a great example of how dances mirror and reinforce society. Midwesterners worked together to survive, so after the barnraising, they’d eat and then dance. The dancing made the weariness from the day’s work vanish.
Sunday morning we will focus on philosophy and religion: matters of life and death, of hope and despair, of bringing our lives and our loves to fruition. Ric’s own life changed dramatically seven years ago when he was told he had terminal prostate cancer. He often expresses thanks for his cancer struggles. He’s been offered a lifetime – whatever the length – of enhanced hourly awareness. We invite you to share a weekend with him and his remarkable daughter April.
Following in the great tradition from Homer to Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, Ric Masten has been making his living by singing and reciting his own words. He does not look away; he found hatred in himself at a peace rally and spoke it. Now his grandson is a medic in Iraq. Ric is also an artist, whose paintings and one-line drawings filled our last catalogue. April Masten is an assistant professor of American History at SUNY Stony Brook, specializing in the History of Dance. Aside from being the “long suffering daughter” of a real artist and poet, Dr. Masten has developed research interests that include dances that were created along the borders between African, Irish, and Native North American cultures, including step and tap, ballads and blues, drums, fiddles, and bones. Her course “Dancing American History From Slavery to Hip Hop” enables her students to experience the steps people danced at particular times and places, enhancing their understanding of historical texts, events, and transformations.
Rowe Conference Center, Kings Highway Road, Rowe, MA 01367
If you know of anyone who may enjoy this workshop, please pass along this flyer.