Welcome to the 2016 Invitational Summer Institute

Are you ready?  All we ask is that you show up.  Physically in your seat, of course, but mentally and emotionally as well.  We want to hear your stories.  We want to hear your questions.  We want to hear the results of your research–research that matters to you and benefits your students.  Although it’s only April, we want to get started; so let’s get to it!

Because we are writers, let’s begin with a poem to toast the group:

To Be of Use

by Marge Percy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Marge Piercy, “To be of use” from Circles on the Water. Copyright © 1982 by Marge Piercy. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (Alfred A. Knopf, 1982)

 

And here’s one more that always sums up why I need the LMWP Summer Institute:

The Paradox 

 

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About Lindsay M. Ellis

Director of the Lake Michigan Writing Project and Writing Across the Curriculum at GVSU
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