Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

Theresa Williams at Esalen

Posted by bgsuenglish on September 7, 2007

Back in June, we announced that Theresa Williams, Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing, had a short story, “Trash,” accepted for publication in the national arts magazine THE SUN. That story appears in this month’s issue.

Each year, the magazine invites from five to seven SUN-published writers to teach workshops at renowned “counter-culture nexus” Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. This year, Theresa has been invited to teach three workshops; two in poetry and one in fiction.

Esalen has strong ties to psychology and the arts. Abraham Maslow and Fritz Perls were early influences in the Esalen concept. Visitors and leaders of Esalen include Joan Baez, Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson, Richard Alpert, Paul Tillich, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, Carl Rogers, B.F Skinner, Ansel Adams, Michael Harner, Richard Alpert, and Timothy Leary.

The focus of Esalen’s workshops for 2007 is “Into the Fire: The Alchemy of Personal Writing.” Theresa tells us that her workshops will “focus on the repetition found in chants and songs from World Mythology, focusing on Native American and African influences especially.”

I will also focus on how chants and repetitions are found in Modern and Contemporary poets, looking predominantly at Walt Whitman. I will also be focusing a great deal on the personal lyric. The emphasis in all of my workshops is on how to write about personal events in poetry or fiction without being self-absorbed or lurid.

Congratulations Theresa!

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One Response to “Theresa Williams at Esalen”

  1. First, let me thank Ruijie Zhao and Julie Haught for taking over my classes for me while I was gone. My time in Big Sur was very beneficial. The workshop students were open, honest, and enlightened and produced some amazing work. Teaching in a different place and in a different way has helped me. I want to be a bolder teacher in the future, try new things, challenge students more.

    I was also able to briefly visit Robinson Jeffers’s Tor House and take photos of Hawk Tower in Carmel for my Modern Poetry students. I plan to make a short video of Tor House and Hawk Tower for that class. Ever since I was a college freshman, Jeffers’s poetry has been important to me. Seeing where he wrote some of his greatest poems has brought me even closer to the man and his work.

    The spirit of Big Sur will remain with me forever, filling me and challenging me to be a better writer and teacher.

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