alders

 


The next deadline for submission
of a grant application is December 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:

Reading Linda Pastan, led by Andrea Hollander
Four Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
January 13, 20, 27 and February 10
ArtSpace Room, TaborSpace, 60th & SE Belmont

Reading Adrienne Rich, led by Sara Guest
Four Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
March 10, March 24, April 14, April 28
ArtSpace Room, TaborSpace, 60th & SE Belmont

Reading Susan Glaspell, led by Gay Monteverde
Three Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
May 12, 19, 26
ArtSpace Room, TaborSpace, 60th & SE Belmont

Reading Virginia Woolf's Essays, led by Judith Barrington
Four Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
September 15, 22, 29 and October 6
Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark

The fee is $60; scholarships are available. The group is limited to 16. To register, send an email to info@soapstone.org, and a check made out to Soapstone, 622 SE 29th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214.

=========================================================

Reading Linda Pastan, led by Andrea Hollander

In the early 1970s when I began to teach myself to write poems, I discovered the work of Linda Pastan. I was drawn to her poems, in part, because of her subject matter, which, though it may have been labeled “domestic” at the time, I found much richer than such a label suggested. Yes, her subjects seemed to dwell upon the everydayness of ordinary lives, but beneath such triggering subjects were deeper, even disturbing, ones. A contemporary of Sylvia Plath at Radcliffe (Pastan won the Mademoiselle Poetry Prize the year Plath was runner up), Pastan’s work continues. Now 85, she has published 17 volumes of poetry, most recently Insomnia (Norton, 2015), which she says has to do with “a struggle with consciousness itself as well as a struggle with the looming dark, just outside the window.”

I am especially interested in the nature of the creativity over time, as exemplified by the work of Linda Pastan. How does a writer’s work develop? In what ways does a writer’s subject matter evolve, or does it? What changes? What stays the same? Each session will focus on a few poems, most of which can be found in Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968 - 1998 (Norton, 1998) and in Insomnia (Norton, 2015), which will be our texts. Participants will be expected to read the poems ahead of time and to engage in our discussion about them. The atmosphere will be relaxed and welcoming. Due to our lengthy sessions, participants are encouraged to bring lunch. The study group welcomes both readers and writers, those who already know Pastan’s work, those who would like to know it better, and those for whom the study group will be an introduction.

Andrea Hollander moved to Portland in 2011, after many years in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where she ran a bed & breakfast for 15 years and served as the Writer-in Residence at Lyon College for 22. Her 4th full-length poetry collection, Landscape with Female Figure: New & Selected Poems, 1982 -2012, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; her 1st, House Without a Dreamer, won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Among her many other honors are two Pushcart Prizes (in poetry and literary nonfiction) and two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts. In September 2018, Hollander’s 5th poetry collection, Blue Mistaken for Sky, will be published by Autumn House Press.

=========================================================

Reading Adrienne Rich, led by Sara Guest

Adrienne Rich wrote, “Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can.”

She did that brilliantly as a poet, essayist, activist and thinker. From her origins as a formalist whose first poetry collection A Change of World was chosen for the Yale Younger Poets Award by W.H. Auden, she spent her life discovering and mastering a voice that was challenging, timely and courageous to become "one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century".

We will consider Rich’s most personal and political work including poems from Diving Into the Wreck, The Dream of a Common Language and An Atlas of a Difficult World among others, and essays from On Lies, Secrets and Silence and Blood, Bread, and Poetry. We will explore her achievement as an artist in the context of the times in which she lived, the movements she was shaped by and in turn helped to shape.

I chose Adrienne Rich for this study group because her work has accompanied me and challenged me as I’ve sought to deepen my understanding of social justice, personal history and poetics. And because of the example she offers us of a woman who continued to develop as an artist and activist from the publication of her first book at the age of 22 until her death at the age of 83.

All readers are welcome, from those who have read her work for decades to those for whom it will be the first time. If you don’t own these books and can’t find them used, copies of what we’ll discuss will be provided.

Sara Guest is a poet, essayist, facilitator, literary lecturer and careful reader. She has worked as a literature editor for Encyclopaedia Britannica and a producer for Harpo Studios and in various capacities as an editor or program, project or creative manager. She leads reading seminars with Literary Arts and the Portland Underground Graduate School and writing workshops with Write Around Portland. 

=========================================================

Reading Susan Glaspell, led by Gay Monteverde

What does a woman born in 1876 have to say to us today about freedom of speech, domestic violence, psychotherapy, gender roles, racism, birth control, technology, political systems, pacifism, social reform, and the disconnect between Midwest and coastal values?  

Quite a lot, actually.

Susan Glaspell wrote fourteen novels, a biography of her husband, and dozens of short stories, essays and articles. But her primary contribution to American literature was on the stage. She co-founded, then directed, acted in, and wrote fifteen plays for the Provincetown Players, America’s first modern theater company, working alongside such then-unknowns as Eugene O’Neill, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Djuna Barnes, William Carlos Williams, and John Reed.  

Although a well known writer during her life, Glaspell's reputation and her works nearly disappeared after she died. Like Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Zora Neale Hurston, Glaspell was resurrected in the 1970s, thanks to the feminist movement.  And her fame rested on a single work.  In Glaspell's case, that was a one-act play called “Trifles.”  

We will read “Trifles” (aloud, as it was meant to be experienced), as well as her short story spinoff “A Jury of Her Peers.”  But we will save this for last, like dessert.  Before that, we will read several less familiar Glaspell one-acts to get a sense of the range of her interests: “Suppressed Desires,” “Close the Book,” “The People,” and “Tickless Time.”  Then we will read one of her full-length plays: Inheritors, which touches on so many contemporary themes that the ride can be a bit dizzying. All these works are available online without charge.

I was first introduced to Glaspell when I taught high school English in Alaska 40 years ago. I stumbled on 'Trifles' in a textbook. It is perhaps the most beautifully written modern play I've ever read: tight, deep, clear. And fourteen-year-olds did not have to struggle to understand it. As I began to write plays myself, I realized how challenging it is to put forth a point of view without standing on a soap box, but rather embedding ideas in story, character, imagery. Glaspell sometimes falters, but she deserves to be known as 'the mother of American theater.' She claimed space for the women playwrights who followed--from Lillian Hellman to Lynn Nottage.

This discussion group is for those for whom Glaspell is a beacon in the darkness, who have valued and wrangled with her over the years. But I especially encourage those who have never read Glaspell (or never read beyond “Trifles”) to participate. 

Gay Monteverde is a playwright who has been teaching writing of all sorts (except poetry) for forty-one years.  Her first play, based on the life of Harriet Tubman, was a finalist for the National Alliance of Theater & Education’s New Works Award and is in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois.  Her second play, an adaptation of Persian folk tales, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award for Drama and has had dozens of productions in the United States and Australia.  Both plays are published by Playscripts, Inc. in New York City. Her third play is currently looking for an interested theater company, and she is writing a fourth.

=========================================================

To be notified about these programs and those of many other literary organizations, sign up for ou bi-weekly 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.

To be notified only about the study groups, sign up for our monthly study group email announcements.

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