East Bend: Writers Writing: Synonyms for Grief

Saturday, July 08, 2023
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Discover techniques for transforming past hurts into creative writing.

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In conjunction with best practices learned through the Certificate in Social Emotional Arts program with UCLArts + Healing, this writing workshop, inspired by K.E. Ogden's poem of the same name, utilizes this title poem as well as work from poets Danez Smith, Danielle Mitchell, Harryette Mullen, and others to present different techniques for transforming past hurts into creative writing in a supportive space. Participants often find the workshop to be a cathartic outlet, a means of processing experiences, and a place to find community with others experiencing grief.

Survived By began after Anne Marie learned of her father's terminal cancer diagnosis. On December 13, 2019, after her father collapsed, too weak to even hold an ice chip in his mouth, she found herself writing poetry after having never written poetry before. When she felt the most lost and the most desperate, her instinct urged her to borrow a pen from the nurse's station and write poems on the back of receipts she found in her purse.

Poems in this collection vary in form, creating a visually interesting collection that will make readers curious to turn to the next page. Her book explicitly invites readers to rip pages out, draw on them, and even write their own words on them.

Survived By will appeal to individuals working through a grief journey and individuals who have experienced and are working through emotional hardships. This memoir in verse and selected other poems were born from the pain induced by watching her father slowly lose his life. Writing these poems kept her from drowning in her grief, and she hopes that others can find a similarly buoyant companion in this collection and use her words in whatever ways they need in order to stay afloat too. Hailed by Brazilian poet, Larissa Freitas, author of Shaped and Viva, by definition as "a hauntingly beautiful portrayal of the undying love found in grief."

Though this workshop can be therapeutic, it should not be used in place of professional counseling.

Anne Marie Wells (She | They) is the author of Survived By: A Memoir in Verse + Other Poems (Curious Corvid Publishing, 2023) and the inaugural winner of the Wanderlust Travel Book Award for her memoir, Happy Iceland, through Wild Dog Press. She is the lead faculty member for the DC Chapter of the Community Literature Initiative through the Sims Library of Poetry and Strategic Partnership Fellow for The Poetry Lab. She was a 2021 Wyoming Women of Influence nominee in the arts category for amplifying the voices of the LGBTQ and disabled communities through her writing. She lives in the outskirts of D.C. and when she isn't writing poetry, she works for a professional theatre company, volunteers at a local dog shelter, and practices yoga.

Anne Marie Wells
Event Type(s):
Adult Program
Adult Program
Age Group(s):
Anne Marie Wells
Liz Goodrich | | 541-312-1032