Transformative Language Artists (and Goddard Graduates) Celebrate the Power of Words

From left: Deb Hensley, Joanna Tebbs Young, Amber and Ronan Ellis, Miriam Gabriel, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Scott Youmans, Taina Asili and Seema Reza

From left: Deb Hensley, Joanna Tebbs Young, Amber and Ronan Ellis, Miriam Gabriel, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Scott Youmans, Taina Asili and Seema Reza

The 10th annual Power of Words conference — celebrating social and personal transformation through our spoken, written and sung words — brought together a large group of Goddard graduates as well as other writers, storytellers, musicians, artists, activists, educators and community leaders Oct. 11-13 at Pendle Hill Retreat Center near Philadelphia. The conference featured keynoters:

  • Taina Asili, a graduate of the MA-TLA program, and social action-focused writer and singer with her band La Bande Rebele;
  • Michelle Meyers, spoken word artist and founder of Yellow Rage;
  • Deb Hensley, educator, writer, singer and facilitator, MA-TLA graduate, and founder of When Did We Stop Singing?; and
  • Dick Allen, Connecticut Poet Laureate, beloved poet and teacher.
Dick Allen, CT. Poet Laureate

Dick Allen, CT. Poet Laureate

Among all the workshops on right livelihood, narrative medicine, social action and engaged spirituality; talking circles and big group sessions; informal meet-ups and wanderings in the woods, Goddard graduates who attended also included:

  • Joanna Tebbs Young, a professional columnist and workshop facilitator;
  • Amber Ellis, editor of the forthcoming TLA professional journal and facilitator of writing workshops;
  • Miriam Gabriel, new blog curator for the TLA Network as well as a writer and spoken word artist;
  • Scott Youmans, writer, divinity student, software designer and workshop facilitator; and
  • Seema Reza, arts and writing program director for Walter
    Conference participants finding the power of song

    Conference participants finding the power of song

    Reed Military Medical Center and other facilities, specializing in helping wounded warriors re-make their lives.

Organized by the Transformative Language Arts Network, the conference was first held at Goddard College in 2013 as a project of the college. Past keynoters

Miriam Gabriel with storyteller Doug Lipman

Miriam Gabriel with storyteller Doug Lipman

have included Grace Paley, David Abram, Julia Alvarez, Gail Rosen, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Dovie Thomason, Gregory Orr, Lewis Mehl Madrona, Rick Jarow, and others. The 2014 conference happens Sept. 19-21 at Lake Doniphan Retreat Center in Kansas City, MO.

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