Living Words: Folklore and Creative Writing Workshop with Peggy Yocom

headshot of peggy yocom, who wears a purple shirt and a large pendant necklace

Peggy Yocom is offering an in-person creative writing workshop in Maine from July 23 – 29. The workshop is one of the offerings of Monson Arts, a residency program in Monson nestled in the woods of north-central Maine at the edge of Lake Hebron and near the last stop on the Appalachian Trail before its northern terminus: Mount Katahdin.

Through the gifts of traditional lore, participants will listen for stories, for those moments that are worth writing down on the page. Participants explore the unsuspected depths of everyday cultural forms and practices that are especially relevant for participants’ own poetry, fiction, and non-fiction writing. Through daily writing prompts, participants will use folklore to deepen their work and to draw out ideas for new writing. Some afternoon sessions will find participants exploring the worlds of Monson as springboards for our writing. Participants will have time to workshop any piece they have written, whether they wrote it before or during our time together.

The cost of participating in a workshop includes tuition, room and board. Applications are on a first-come, first-served basis, with a deadline of May 30 2023. The workshop is limited to 12 participants.

Learn more about the workshop and register.

For five decades, Margaret “Peggy” Yocom has been listening to the stories of people who live in the mountains of western Maine. Her book ALL KINDS OF FUR: Erasure Poems & New Translation of a Tale from the Brothers Grimm was published by Deerbrook Editions in 2018. Her poetry and non-fiction have also appeared in the Beloit Poetry JournalThe Beltway Poetry Journal, the anthology The Folklore Muse: Poetry, Fiction, and Other Reflections by FolkloristsFriends Journal, and elsewhere. She founded the Folklore Studies Program of George Mason University where she taught for 36 years; among her many courses, she offered “Living Words: Folklore and Creative Writing.” For her work at the university, the American Folklore Society awarded her the Kenneth Goldstein Award for Lifetime Academic Leadership. She has published on the Brothers Grimm, on the folk arts of political protest, on Inuit storytelling in northwest Alaska, on family folklore, and on the folk arts of Maine logging communities, especially on the Richard Family of Rangeley. Curator of the Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum until 2014, she has written several essays on Rangeley’s logging heritage, including the book Logging in the Maine Woods: The Paintings of Alden Grant. She has served as editor for two authors, both natives of Rangeley: Favorite Story-poems of Maine’s Unique Storyteller by Gaylon “Jeep” Wilcox (Liongrass Editions, 2018), and Ayuh, That’s Life on the Moose Trail! (Liongrass Editions, 2019) by Wanda Ferguson. Co-founder of the American Folklore Society’s Creative Writing and Storytelling Section, Peggy holds a Ph.D in English and folklore from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. A founding member of Western Maine Storytelling, she tells legendary tales of the seen—and the unseen. Co-organizer of the Hugh Ogden Memorial Evening of Poetry in Rangeley, she makes her home with her geologist husband, John Slack, in Farmington and Rangeley.

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