I first met Cecilia Woloch in 1999, when she became the founding director of the week-long summer poetry program at Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, California. For the next nine summers, Cecilia selected an impressive lineup of guest poets. It was an honor to listen to renowned authors as they read their work in our little mountain town. Pulitzer Prize winners, Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, and Natasha Trethaway; U.S. poet laureates, Ted Kooser and Billy Collins; MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Terrance Hayes; National Book Award winner, Lucille Clifton; and National Endowment of the Arts recipients, David St. John and Cecilia Woloch were some of the headliners who entertained us while we sat on the grass hills that lined the amphitheatre where the event took place. I became accustomed to the idea of having such greatness in Idyllwild, and when it finally ended, I became keenly aware of what we had lost.
Now some of that greatness is coming back! After teaching numerous graduate and undergraduate creative writing programs, as well as leading workshops in locales ranging from Los Angeles, to Paris, to Istanbul, Cecilia Woloch will return to the Inland Empire to offer a weeklong writing retreat at the Idyllwild Manor, a 4200 sq. ft estate in the center of Idyllwild. From November 1 – 7, 2014, Cecilia will lead intensive workshop sessions, offering inspiration and camaraderie, close-critique of participants’ work-in-progress, generative writing exercises, craft-talks, and fireside readings. A special event is also planned. On Sunday, November 2, from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm, Cecilia will read from her new chapbook, Earth, accompanied by two of Idyllwild’s treasures: jazz saxophonist, Paul Carman, and jazz legend, Marshall Hawkins. Carman toured and recorded with Frank Zappa in the late 1980’s as part of Zappa’s “Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life.” Hawkins joined the Miles Davis Quintet and toured with them. His jazz credits are endless; his philosophy of life is this, “the world would b-flat without music.” The performance will be held at the Idyllwild Manor and will be free to the public.
Woloch’s poems are travelogues of the human spirit, recounting mysterious liaisons, gypsy ancestors, wild horses, and heartfelt longings. She is a guardian of the downtrodden, a creatrix, a wild one that no one can tame. Her words illuminate each page with intensity and beauty: “Do I look like a bride in these rags of wind? Do I look like the angel of home and hearth with this strange green fire in my hands?” Master of the prose poem and impeccable lyricist, she is the gifted tenth muse that Shakespeare idealized… “ten times more in worth than those old nine which rhymers invocate.” As Natasha Tretheway explains, Cecilia is “…a poet who is passionately alive in the world.”
Cecilia Woloch is the author of six collections of poems, most recently Carpathia (BOA Editions 2009), which was a finalist for the Milton Kessler Award, and Tzigane, le poème Gitan (Scribe-l’Harmattan 2014), the French translation of her second book, Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem. Tsigan has also been adapted for multi-media performances in the US and Europe, and is currently being translated into Polish. Her novella, Sur la Route, a finalist for the Colony Collapse Prize, is forthcoming from Quale Press in 2015, along with a new chapbook of poems, Earth, recently awarded the Two Sylvias Press Prize.
Cecilia’s honors include The Indiana Review Prize for Poetry, The New Ohio Review Prize for Poetry, the Scott Russell Sanders Prize for Creative Nonfiction, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, CEC/ArtsLink International, Chateau de La Napoule Foundation, the Center for International Theatre Development, the Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation and many others. Her work has been translated and published in French, German, Polish and Ukrainian. She collaborates regularly with musicians, dancers, visual artists, theatre artists, and filmmakers.
“Instead, you came late, you came after I’d made myself into harbor and chalice and wick. More like the ashes than any warm hearth. More like a widow than wanton, beloved. And you lifted me over the wall of the garden and carried me back to my life.” — Late, Cecilia Woloch
Please join Cecilia Woloch for a workshop of creative writing and performance. Stay at a historic estate, located in the heart of the mandala of Idyllwild. This is an incredible opportunity to refine your writing skills and get your work ready for publishing. The Idyllwild Workshop and Retreat is open to all writers with a serious commitment to the creative process and the desire to be creatively challenged. Cecilia will address participants’ questions and concerns in regard to work habits, reading, revision, submission, publication, and other ways of moving one’s creative work out into the larger world, while honoring, always, the inner source and the integrity of the poet’s voice. Cost for the retreat with 6-nights lodging (exclusive of meals): Shared bedroom: $975, Private bedroom: $1075, Commuter rate (exclusive of lodging): $675. Cost for 3-days only (exclusive of lodging): $350. To register for the workshop, or for further information, contact Cecilia: firstname.lastname@example.org.