CCL Poetry Weekend

June 3, 2016 – June 5, 2016 all-day
Grist Mill
See Tickets Page

Second Annual Centre for Creative Learning Poetry Weekend! This is an opportunity to meet and work with some of the strongest voices in modern Canadian poetry.

June 3rd, 4th and 5th 2016


Catherine Graham

Steven Heighton

Jeanette Lynes

Ian Burgham


Friday night reading by Steven Heighton – refreshments – social – introduction to the poets and the weekend


The Short Poem II by Catherine Graham from 10 am till 12

Break for Lunch on your own

Poeisis and the Nature of Poetry by Ian Burgham from 2 pm till 4 pm



GHOSTBUSTING; OR, THE HAUNTED WALK OF POETRY – Using Historical Material in Your Poems

by Jeanette Lynes at 10 am till 12 noon

Lunch on your own

2:30PM Poetry Reading (open to the public)

4PM Coffee, Tea, Dessert and closing remarks


Daily Rates

Friday evening reading and reception $25

Saturday $75

Sunday $50

Sunday afternoon Poetry Reading $10   

Weekend package, including Friday Night Reading $149


Sunday Afternoon will include refreshments, signed poetry book (offered while quantities last) plus there will be a draw for an e-mailed review and critique of a poem from Jeanette Lynes.

Workshop descriptions

Catherine Graham

The Short Poem II

Compression, image, metaphor, voice—there are many routes to the short poem. How does it accomplish so much in a little arena? In this workshop— an extension of The Short Poem I—we will continue exploring the elements inside the short poem. Through examples, exercises, discussion and reflection, we’ll mine the landscape of the small and add tools to our creative toolbox. The opportunity to read your drafts will be part of the process. This workshop is suitable for all levels—from beginner to advanced. The Short Poem I is not a prerequisite. All are welcome.

Instructor: Catherine Graham

Ian Burgham

Poeisis and the Nature of Poetry

Ian Burgham will guide participants on a tour of the nature of poetic process.

We will explore how poets throughout history have written about the process, the way poems evolve and present themselves to the poet – the way of mind. Following Coleridge’s poem, Frost at Midnight”, we will investigate the nature of poetic process; and discuss the difference that may lie at the heart of the terms poiesis vs creativity.

Jeanette Lynes

GHOSTBUSTING; OR, THE HAUNTED WALK OF POETRY – Using Historical Material in Your Poems

Poets have long wrangled with the dead and past eras. We could trace this preoccupation back to poetic documentations of historical events in epics such as Gilgamesh. Some poets turned to ‘medieval’ tropes. Much more recently, Margaret Atwood’s engagement with Susanna Moodie, Michael Ondaatje’s with Billy the Kid, Carolyn Smart’s with Bonnie and Clyde, Gregory Scofield’s Louis Riel, and Tanis Rideout’s Marilyn Bell exemplify encounters with figures from the past. My own collection, Bedlam Cowslip: The John Clare Poems (2015) presented a range of compositional issues. Writing poems based on historical material can open joyful new doors of discovery but these projects also present challenges. Even if you have only toyed with the idea of using historical material, this workshop will offer strategies for ways into past worlds. The only preparation you need to do – and this is optional – is to ponder a period of historical or historical personage of interest to you, that you might like to explore further. The workshop will involve some short writing exercises. With any luck, you may leave with a new idea for a suite of poems, and who knows where that could take you?


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  • Testimonials

    Ian Burgham

    It was a wonderful literary weekend writers’ workshop program at the Centre for Creative Learning that left everyone milling about the parked cars not wanting to leave CCL, not wanting to say their goodbyes, nor end the powerful magic of a perfect time devoted to craft and meaning.

    Ian Burgham

    Dr. Chantel Lavoie

    [Westport Centre for Creative Learning] is not merely a portal by which to get away from all the forces that drain the spirit, but a means to arrive at something essential, something real in one’s own creative process.  CCL nourishes body and soul—like its pond stirred up by a gentle waterfall, time spent there is both tranquil and moving.

    Dr. Chantel Lavoie

    Catherine Graham

    I was honoured to take part in the [Centre for Creative Learning’s] first poetry workshop weekend. The natural beauty, generosity and care behind this unique and exciting creative learning centre made my experience nothing but outstanding.

    Catherine Graham

    Jeanette Lynes

    The Westport Centre for Creative Learning is a wonderful, immersive experience, both a sanctuary and a creative hub. Whether you want to reflect while wandering the gorgeous grounds and gardens or engage in conversations around the fire, the Centre is an absolute gem - a welcoming oasis for the creative spirit in us all.

    Jeanette Lynes

    Steve Heighton

    I've helped to facilitate writing workshops in a lot of beautiful places conducive to creativity, but none more beautiful or more conducive than Angela Elster's [Centre for Creative Learning].

    Steve Heighton