Voices That Are Always with Us

Poetry and Conversation

Catonsville Presbyterian Church- France Room

1400 Frederick Rd.

Friday, September 20th, 7PM

Altar of Innocence cover artFinal Deployment

 

            Memories are full of many images, and none are more powerful than the voices of those people in our lives whom we’ve loved and who have challenged us. Ann Bracken and Ann Quinn will read from their collections of poetry dealing with memories whose power has shaped them and influenced their writing journeys. Come for an inspiring evening of poetry and conversation with two local authors.

Ann Bracken, an activist with a pen, who grew up in Catonsville, has authored two poetry collections, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroomand The Altar of Innocence, serves as a contributing editor for Little Patuxent Review, and co-facilitates the Wilde Readings Poetry Series.  Her poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in anthologies and journals, including Bared: Contemporary Poetry & Art on Bras & Breasts, Fledgling Rag, and Gargoyle. Ann’s poetry has garnered two Pushcart Prize nominations and   her advocacy work centers around arts-based interventions for mental health and prison reform.  Website: www.annbrackenauthor.com

Church member Ann Quinn, who has led a bi-monthly Writer’s Group at CPC for the past five years, is a poet and essayist, editor, teacher, mentor, mother, and classical clarinetist. In her  poetry collection, Final Deployment,published by Finishing Line Press, the child of a Vietnam War naval aviator matures into motherhood and experiences the death of her own mother. These poems remind us of what nature teaches about death’s necessity and its potential for transfiguration. Ann’s award-winning work has been published in Potomac Review, Little Patuxent Review, Vietnam War Poetry, Haibun TodayandSnapdragon, and is included in the anthology Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women. She conducts writing workshops and music camps, volunteers in schools and libraries, and plays in a symphony orchestra.  Ann holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Pacific Lutheran University and lives in Catonsville, Maryland with her family. Visit her at www.annquinn.net

Join us for this inspiring evening of creative listening and conversation. The authors will have copies of their books for sale, and refreshments will be served.

Upcoming Classes and Events

I have a few summer events scheduled as well as one for September. I’ll have more details and registration links once they are posted. Hope to see you in a class soon!

Thanks to everyone who came to the Roland Park reading. You were a great crowd, and I appreciate your support!

Hamilton Street Club, June 5, 2019, Baltimore  12pm-2pm
I will discuss and read poetry from my 2015 volume, The Altar of Innocence, which explores ideas associated with family secrets and trauma and the many ways a family is affected by the serious emotional struggles of other family members. Because I have training and wide experience in using poetry and the arts in healing, I  will also  discuss how poetry and journaling can be used to reach those who struggle with the all-too-common human experiences of severe emotional distress.

Currere Exchange: Conference in Oxford, Ohio  June 12-14, 2019
I’ll be presenting a proposal for an art installation exploring my mother’s journey to conquer her nearly 40 years of depression and anxiety. Using a variety of artifacts, including letters, prescription records, and insurance forms, I detail my mother’s journey and raise questions about the nature of depression and the current models of treatment.

Jump-start Your Creative Writing: East Columbia Library, September 11, 2019 1-2:30pm (registration details coming soon)
Do you have stories inside just begging to be told? Do lots of great ideas fill your imagination? Is there something you want to say but you don’t know where to begin?  Then this class is for you. Ann Bracken has published numerous essays, interviews and two books of poetry since she began her writing career. During this class, students will explore a variety of basic techniques to enhance any type of creative writing you want to pursue, including memoir, fiction, and poetry.  In this class, we’ll explore and practice using image and figurative language, specific and concrete details, and varying the pacing and rhythm of lines and sentences. All of these techniques can help to propel your writing from good to great.

Poetry Reading: Voices That Are Always With Us

Ann Quinn and I will be reading from our collections on April 4, 2019, at the Roland Park Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library from 6:30 -8pm. More information is available if you click on the link below. Hope to see you there!

                    Altar of Innocence cover art                    Final Deployment

Voices That Are Always With Us:  Memories are full of many images, and none are more powerful than the voices of those people in our lives whom we’ve loved and who have challenged us. Ann Bracken and Ann Quinn will read from their collections of poetry dealing with memories whose power has shaped them and inspired their writing journeys. Come for an  evening of poetry and conversation with two local authors.

 

Energy Magnets: Exploring Memories to Craft Memoir

Florida Creativity Graphic

I’m looking forward to this year’s Florida Creativity Conference in Sarasota running from March 29-31, 2019. My good friend, Kathy Leydon Conway, and I will be offering a workshop on poetry and memoir on Saturday, March 30th from 9-11am. Here’s a graphic and a link below for registration. The conference is wonderful, and the people are fun and interesting. Give it a try!

Register now for the 2019 Florida Creativity Conference March 29-31

 

November Reading at the Pratt Library

Book cover

Still time to put this event on your calendar!

I’ll be reading along with Joelle Biele and Ann Quinn at the Pratt Library Central Branch on November. 1st from 6:30 to 8:00pm.

All of us with be sharing our poetry and will have books for sale. It’s always wonderful to be a guest at the Pratt, the library where I spent many hours reading and researching. Come on out and join us for a great evening!

Children's faces
Book cover

New Day Campaign Events: Art and Healing

I’m honored to participate in two events as part of Peter Brunn’s New Day Campaign using the arts to heal addiction and mental illness.  Here are some details. Hope to see you there!

Artist Information Session

Maryland State Arts Council
175 W. Ostend Street #E, Baltimore MD, 21230

September 12, 2018, 3:30 – 5:00pm

Are you a visual artist, performer, writer, or other sort of creative person who wants to challenge stigma associated with mental illness or substance use? Do you care about making a difference with your art and words? Here is your chance to learn how to become involved with the New Day Campaign’s Dusk & Dawn series of programs in 2018-2019: join us for a gallery reception from 3:30-4:00pm, followed by a presentation and question and answer session with New Day Campaign founder and director, Peter Bruun.

The Art of Being Well

Baltimore County Arts Guild
1101 Maiden Choice Lane, Baltimore MD, 21229

December 2, 2018, 4:00 – 6:30pm

An exploration on the therapeutic power of art making (and making art about what ails us), and a look at the related but different clinical practice of art therapy. Please join poet and author Ann Bracken, writer and spoken word artist Kondwani Fidel, art therapists Sharon Strouse and Peggy Kolodny, and the artists who exhibit in We the People: New Day Campaign in an event combining performance, readings, and conversation. Reception with light appetizers and refreshments and a hands-on therapeutic art activity begins at 4:00pm; program and conversation begins at 5:00pm.

 

Stoop Stories: On Drugs: Dependence, Destruction, and Salvation

I’m thrilled to be one of the storytellers for the upcoming Stoop Stories in Baltimore at the Senator Theater on April 19th at 8pm. I have a story to tell that will probably surprise many of you, and I want to tell it because I believe very much in the power of the mind-body connection. Come to the event on April 19th and hear some great stories of courage and triumph.

Thanks to Jessica Myles Henkin and Laura Wexler for their excellent coaching and support in our presentations.

Here’s a teaser for my story:

All Ann Bracken wanted was a life without pain.  A continuous migraine banged away in her head for seven years. The numerous hospitalizations failed.
Her doctor offered her one last drug: methadone.  But when Ann crashed her car twice after falling asleep, she rejected the methadone, the doctors, and the hospitals. She decided to heal herself. This story is an excerpt from Noncompliant,her memoir in search of a publisher.

More stories about the role of drugs and alcohol in my life can be found in my first poetry collection, The Altar of Innocence. 

Tickets and information: click here

Reblogging: Little Patuxent Review’s Reading at the Writer’s Center

Hope to see lots of folks there for this special event!

Annual Reading on March 17 at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda

Rucker cover

Little Patuxent Review will host its annual reading of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry at 2 p.m. on March 17 at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. The reading will feature contributors to our most recent issue, including five members of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective, as well as LPR editors and Ian Anderson, the editor of Mason Jar Press, an independent press in Baltimore.

A reception will follow the reading. Our lineup:

  • Daien Guo, fiction
  • Ann Bracken, interview with artist Paul Rucker
  • Steven Leyva, poetry
  • Maria Termini, nonfiction (read by Desirée Magney)
  • Ian Anderson, fiction

And from the Black Ladies Brunch Collective:

  • Saida Agostini, poetry
  • Anya Creightney, poetry
  • Teri Ellen Cross Davis, poetry
  • Tafisha A. Edwards, poetry
  • Katy Richey, poetry

The Writer’s Center in Bethesda is at 4508 Walsh St, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

Love and Mercy: Hopes for 2017

When I grew up in the 60s, one of my favorite singing groups was the Beach Boys. Their music was upbeat, happy, and beautiful to hear.  But like so many of my generation, the real-life happenings of my favorite singers were not important. In later years, I remember hearing that Brian Wilson, the lead in the Beach Boys and the genius behind many of their songs, had suffered a breakdown, stayed in bed for years, and gained a lot of weight. The story held little interest for me until I saw the movie Love and Mercy with John Cusack as Brian Wilson.

I still love the music of the Beach Boys and thought I knew nearly all of their songs, but I had never heard the song “Love and Mercy” until I saw the movie. It’s pure, vintage Beach Boys, with Brian singing and playing the piano and a few ohs and ahs in the chorus. But it’s the message of the song that draws me in, especially as we face the looming uncertainty in our country under our incoming president. Many of us are very concerned about what will happen to our environment, our justice system, our schools, our healthcare, and the possibility of an  arms race under the new administration. There are calls to resist, as I believe many of us will and should. But what form will that resistance take? How do we counteract the ominous rumbles of oligarchy and corruption of democracy? While everyone will have their own answer to those questions, I’d like to share what I plan to do and how Brian Wilson’s song fits into a paradigm of change.

Many people will choose to resist, and I believe we should. But what form that will take will vary for each of us. I draw my inspiration from Einstein who said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”  I agree with him, and I would modify his idea slightly to say, We cannot solve our problems with the same energy we used when we created them. And what kinds of energy created our problems?  Anger and  fear seem to be the dominant forces underlying the racism, nationalism, militarism, and greed that are gripping our nation. So we must turn away from those energies in order to create a better country and in turn, a better world for everyone. And changing the energy begins with every individual.

Every time you choose to be kind rather to to retaliate, your are shining the energy in a positive direction. Every time you choose a smile over a cutting remark, you add to the peace in the world. Every time you propose a solution instead of saying “That will never happen,” change advances.  One day at a time, one person at a time, by choosing a different and positive energy, we bring the promise of a better world closer. Love and mercy can help us.

Love and Mercy by Brian Wilson

I was sittin’ in a crummy movie with my hands on my chin
Oh the violence that occurs seems like we never win

Love and mercy that’s what you need tonight
So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was lyin’ in my room and the news came on T.V.
A lotta people out there hurtin’ and it really scares me

Love and mercy that’s what you need tonight
So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was standin’ in a bar and watchin’ all the people there
Oh the loneliness in this world well it’s just not fair

Hey love and mercy that’s what you need tonight
So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight
Love and mercy that’s what you need tonight
Love and mercy tonight
Love and mercy