Craft Forward Symposium 2011 - Word Craft - by Patricia Powell and Paul S. Flores
May 05, 2011
"Word Craft" was the seventh session at Craft Forward. At this point, we had listened to 13 lectures plus the nine or ten introductions (depending on how you count).
After lunch on the 2nd day, my brain was spinning from the fast-paced intake of information, but my note-taking methodology was improving with fingertips ready for speedy typing.
At best, the inclusion of "Word Craft" in Craft Forward is a conceptual stretch, but possible. Unfortunately, neither speaker tied the content of their presentations to the audience of makers or the theme Craft Forward. It could have been great, to make words relevant to an art and craft audience -- an opportunity lost. Nevertheless, Paul S. Flores was a discovery worth finding, . . . keep reading.
Patricia Powell is an author. Her lecture titled, "Language and Desire and the Discipline of Art" was the first speaker in Session 7, Word Craft. She professed in her short introduction that she wants her text to be healing by combining the study of energy, medicine, and shamanism. This lecture completely missed the mark.
After describing the characters in her book, "Me Dying Trial," she proceeded to read directly from the book. It may be a common practice for authors to read from their books, but I think it is a TERRIBLE IDEA unless the author has a magical voice to craft her words. It didn't happen.
Below are her other books.
The next speaker was Paul S. Flores. He was much more entertaining. In fact, that is what he is - an entertainer. Enjoy the video excerpts below, they are well worth the time to listen carefully to his use of words.
He opened his lecture by stepping away from the podium and speaking from a standing mike. That one footstep changes the speaker's relationship with the audience. It was an amazing relief. Most of the speakers at Craft Forward hung onto that podium like it was a life raft.
The video above is provided by emiko oye. Filmed at Craft Forward Symposium.
Below is another video of Paul S. Flores recorded by emiko oye at Craft Forward about "Spanglish".
A large part of his poetry and style is influenced by his Hispanic background. You can learn more about him on his website.
What did I learn?
Speakers should not use podiums as a crutch to hide behind. I knew this before, but Paul S. Flores proved it by example without a doubt. Step out and share the power of your message.
Background about the speakers (below).
Patricia Powell is an associate professor of English at Mills College and author of "Me Dying Trial" and "A Small Gathering of Bones" (Beacon Press, 2003), "The Pagoda" (Harcourt, 1999), and "The Fullness of Everything" (Peepal Tree Press, 2009).
Excerpts from her novels have been widely anthologized and she has lectured and led creative writing workshops in literary venues both nationally and internationally.
Below are her other books which are affiliate links.
Paul S. Flores is local to the San Francisco Bay Area. It would definitely be interesting to go to one of his performances. Here is a link to his website so you can find out if he is performing in your area. There is another video on his website showing him performing "Brown Dream."
This post was updated on February 2, 2022, to provide current links.