alders

 


The next deadline for submission
of a grant application is June 15, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Soapstone: Celebrating Women Writers

Soapstone provides grants to support ad hoc events and short-term study groups that introduce or offer the opportunity to delve into the work of women writers. All events and study groups are open to the public. Events are free of charge; there is a small fee for study groups, with scholarships available.

Small Grants to Support Events and Study Groups

The application process is simple and the time between applying and notification short.

Click here for general information about the grants.
Click here for information about applying for an event grant.
Click here for information about applying for a study group grant.

Click here to sign up for our monthly newsletter announcing upcoming study groups.

Upcoming study groups:

The fee is $60; scholarships are available. The group is limited to 15. To register, send an email to info@soapstone.org, and a check made out to Soapstone, 622 SE 29th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214.

Reading Elizabeth Bishop, led by Barbara Drake
Four Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
May 27, June 3, 10, 17

Entering the House of Munro, led by Natalie Serber
Six Tuesday evenings, 7 to 9
September 19 through October 24

Reading C.D. Wright, led by Wendy Willis
Four Saturday mornings from 10 to 12
September 16 and 30, October 21 and 28

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Reading Elizabeth Bishop, led by Barbara Drake

Four Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
May 27, June 3, 10, 17
Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) was one of the major American poets of the twentieth century. A recipient of many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1956 and the National Book Award in 1970, she was friends with famous poets of her time such as Robert Lowell and Marianne Moore, published work in The New Yorker and other prominent magazines, and from time to time held prestigious teaching positions. And yet in some ways she was an outsider and a mystery. She traveled extensively and for many years lived in Brazil with her lover, architect and political activist Lota de Macedo Soares. Bishop’s poetry often deals with loss and the difficulty of finding one’s place in the world. This is not surprising since her father died when she was only 8 months old.  A few years later her mother suffered a nervous breakdown, was confined to a mental hospital, disappearing from Elizabeth’s life forever. Shuffled between relatives in Nova Scotia and Massachusetts, she was in some ways rootless.

The need to situate one’s self in a lonely world is often reflected in her poems. Throughout her adult life Bishop struggled with her own demons of depression and alcohol, but judging by her work she must have been a delightful person with a warm sense of humor. Her poetry is often playful. Poems such as “The Man-Moth,” about a mysterious and lonely imaginary character based on a newspaper typo, or “One Art,” a catalog of life’s losses, from door keys to people and places, adopt a fanciful, even humorous, tone. And simply studying the way in which Bishop uses observant and detailed description, as in her poem “The Fish” and many others, is itself a whole course in the art of poetry. Reading her poems, admiring her craft, delighting in her images and ideas, one feels an impulse to share the experience with others, perhaps turning to the nearest human being—friend, lover, or stranger in a coffee shop—and saying, you’ve got to read this, it’s so good. How does she do that?  This will be the central topic of our study group. We will gather for the sheer joy of reading, talking about, learning from, and coming to understand the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop in the company of others. 

Our text will be The Complete Poems 1927-1979, Elizabeth Bishop, supplemented with selected material about the writer, including essays and film. 

Barbara Drake’s books and chapbooks of poetry include Driving One Hundred, Love at the Egyptian Theatre, What We Say to Strangers, Life in a Gothic Novel, Bees in Wet Weather, and Small Favors. She is also the author of two memoirs, Peace at Heart: an Oregon Country Life, and Morning Light: Wildflowers, Night Skies, and Other Ordinary Joys of Oregon Country Life. Her bookWriting Poetry, a widely used college textbook, has been in print since 1983. Her writing appears in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. She developed the creative writing program at Linfield College where she taught until retiring as Professor Emerita in 2007.

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Entering the House of Munro, led by Natalie Serber

Six Tuesday evenings, 7 to 9
September 19 through October 24
TaborSpace, 60th & SE Belmont

Alice Munro has famously said, "A story is not like a road to follow … it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.”

Those of us familiar with the stories of Alice Munro and those of us entering her house for the first time will be beguiled and sheltered by her spaciousness and concision. Whether in rural or urban settings, whether about departures or homecomings, birth or death, Munro’s stories provide us readers with plenty of surprise discoveries and inevitable truths. I was introduced to her work while in graduate school and was both inspired and daunted by her ability to write stories that capture a sweeping life and the decisive moments when a life is changed by a chance meeting, or an opportunity passed by. In this study session, we will read from “Selected Stories,” and discuss the work in terms of both form and content, craft and theme. What a treat to embark upon a deep study of Munro’s evolving revelations on self, women, family, and landscape.  

Natalie Serber is the author of a memoir, Community Chest, and the story collection, Shout Her Lovely Name, a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, a summer reading selection from O, the Oprah Magazine, and an Oregonian Top 10 Book of the Pacific Northwest. Her fiction has appeared in The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, Inkwell, and Hunger Mountain.  Essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian, The Rumpus, Salon, and Fourth Genre.  Natalie has received the John Steinbeck Award, Tobias Wolff Award, and H.E. Francis Award, and has been short listed in Best American Short Stories. She teaches fiction and the personal essay at Marylhurst University, the Attic Institute and at various conferences including Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Natalie received her MFA from Warren Wilson College. She lives in Portland, Oregon. http://www.natalieserber.com

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To be notified about these programs and those of many other literary organizations, sign up for our community email announcements that come out every other week with information about readings, workshops and opportunities for readers and writers in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

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For a complete list of grants awarded, please click here to see or download a PDF