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Beatrix Gates

Residency Sites: Port Townsend, WA

As a teacher, I try and discern where a writer is going, and then guide them towards the best form to carry the story--whether poetry, fiction or non-fiction. Once I have a good sense of the core ambitions and sensibility of the student, I rely on a range of literature that will point the way stylistically, shake them into a different perspective or let them know that they’re on the right track. The point is to inspire confidence in the search for the right form, and this may include trying on different genres or revising through exercises that range outside the expected narrative. I often ask writers of non-fiction to read poetry and dramatic monologues to deepen an appreciation of emotional tone, quick characterization or the impact of repeating imagery. Having poets try on dialogue or explore juxtaposing sections within a long poem also expands the conversation between narrative and lyric. Rewriting is essential to making a manuscript work and developing a relationship to the rewriting process may be the most valuable thing that can be learned.

I have taught inside and outside the academy--teaching writing to teenagers at Downeast AIDS Network supported by a Puffin Foundation grant; to elders in community centers and to women in prison as well as teaching undergraduates and graduate students at CCNY; NYU; Hampshire College and The New School. I have had residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony and the VCCA among others, and I have been nourished by collaborative experiences with composers, artists and other writers. I have published four books of poetry--the most recent, Ten Minutes, was published by Firm Ground Press in 2006 with an October Book Launch at the Bowery Poetry Club. The previous collection, In the Open, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. I edited The Wild Good, Lesbian Photographs & Writings on Love, Anchor/Doubleday, 1996 which called on my experience in independent publishing at Granite Press. Two other poetry collections, Shooting at Night, supported by the Maine State Commission on the Arts & Humanities, and native tongue, were published in letterpress editions. My poetry has been widely published in magazines and anthologies, including The Women’s Review of Books, The Kenyon Review, Cream City Review and Things Shaped in Passing: More Poets for Life Writing from the AIDS Pandemic, ed. Klein and The World In Us eds. Georgiou and Lassell. I have written reviews for The Nation, Lambda Book Report and OutWeek, and published non-fiction in A Woman Like That, Avon Books, ed. Joan Larkin. As librettist and conceiver of the opera, The Singing Bridge, I received support, with composer Anna Dembska, from Meet the Composer/Commissioning Music USA/NEA; the Davis Foundation; the PatsyLu Fund of Open Meadows and LEF Foundation. The Singing Bridge premiered at Maine’s Stonington Opera House in 2005, produced by Opera House Arts and directed by Richard Edelman. I have co-translated contemporary Spanish poet Jesus Aguado with scholar/translator Electa Arenal, and we held Aguado's first bilingual reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC to coincide with his first trip to the USA in November 2006. In 2003, Arenal & I received the Witter Bynner Translation Residency at the Sante Fe Art Institute to translate a selection of poems by Aguado entitled what you say about me. We have published co-translations from Aguado's poetry collections, Like the Oar That Cuts the Current: Poems of Vikram Babu and what you say about me in Poets Against the War, edited by Sam Hamill; Tarpaulin Sky and in Sirena, a publication of Johns Hopkins University. As Founder/Publisher of Granite Press (1973-89), an independent poetry publisher and letterpress print shop, I published Grace Paley's first book of poems, Leaning Forward, and the bilingual anthology, IXOK AMAR.GO: Central American Women Poets for Peace, ed. Zoe Angelsey. I curated A Different Light’s Poetry Series in NYC in the 90's, and I have spent many years working as a poetry advocate and thinking about the importance of poetry in the health of many cultures has marked my work and life. Please visit my blog, for more information on my work.

 

Educational Background:

MFA in Poetry, Sarah Lawrence College; BA in Literature, Antioch College.