So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label John Campbell Folk School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Campbell Folk School. Show all posts

Sunday, September 25, 2022


Today we had our first cool fall weather. Although I am not presently in the mountains where I live, I know the leaves are beginning to change and the cool crisp mornings are happening.

Soon it will be time for the John C. Campbell Fall Festival in Brasstown, NC about a twenty-minute drive from my house.

Even before Barry and I moved to the southern Appalachians, we attended many festivals each fall. My favorite was the Fall Festival at the Folk School. 

My brothers, my sister, Gay, and their spouses came each year from Atlanta and south Georgia. Ray and Gail, Max and Salita, Rex and Nancy drove up from Albany, GA and Gay and Stu came from the Atlanta area. What glorious times we had together. We sat on my deck which is in the tree tops and enjoyed the view of Brasstown Bald across Lake Chatuge in Georgia. But on Saturday we drove to the folk school for the festival. 

Two stages were set up on the campus and music was played all day Saturday and Sunday. We all loved music, especially old country songs, folk songs and familiar gospel music we heard growing up in small country churches in rural southwest Georgia. My brothers had the best time listening to entertainers. We heard family bands with young kids playing banjoes and guitars. We heard husband and wife duos with harmony so sweet you didn't want them to stop singing.  

One of our favorite groups Butternut Creek and Friends was composed of an English professor and writer, Steven Harvey, along with three other singers. We loved their music and bought all their CDs which my family played all the way back to Georgia.

The festival offered food and still does, such as barbeque and iced tea, funnel cakes along with hot dogs and burgers. Food tents for snacks and various kinds of treats are always popular. But my folks attended the festival for the music. 

Since folk dancing is a big part of the curriculum at the folk school, the large stage at the Festival Barn was the perfect place to watch the dancers in costumes perform as well as catch the clogging by several local teams of dancers. Bluegrass music is preferred for clogging. 

At the end of the day on Saturday, my family group headed to a restaurant in Hiawassee, GA just across the state line and on the south end of Lake Chatuge. We required a long table where we could discuss the groups we had heard that day and listen to my brother tell some of his tales that always made us laugh out loud. My heart swelled with love for my family and I was extremely happy that they had come to visit me in my new home in the mountains. These visits continued for several years until Ray was diagnosed with cancer. 

He only made one more trip with the family. He seemed to really enjoy it, but he was weak and making a large effort to hang in there. A sadness hung over us like a heavy rain cloud. He lived three years after his diagnosis and came to see me alone twice during that time. 

In following years, we still gathered once a year at my house, usually for the Festival on the Square in Hayesville but we all missed Ray.

Tonight I clicked on the website for the folk school and saw the article about this year's Fall Festival. It will be a celebration of the ending of the pandemic shadow that fell over everything for the past two years. While COVID is still with us, people will feel safer going to the festival now. 

If I could go back in time, I would dearly love to attend the festival again with my brothers. But they are all gone now. I will just go back in my memories. 

Fall Festival 2022
We invite you to celebrate Appalachian heritage at our 46th Fall Festival, featuring a wide variety of craftspeople, continuous live music and dance, craft demonstrations, good food, and much more! Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2022 10 a.m. to 5 p.m..


Monday, July 14, 2014

Karen Paul Holmes to teach weekend class at Folk School August 1 -3

Take note! If you have not attended a class at the John C. Campbell Folk School, where I attended writing classes for the past 19 years, this is an excellent time to come and take a class from poet and writer, Karen Holmes.

Karen Paul Holmes to Teach Weekend All-Genre Writing Class

Your Write Time
Itching to write, but can't find time? Or do you need a jumpstart to get you going? Give yourself the gift of a weekend devoted to writing. The instructor will provide inspiration, encouragement, writing prompts, editing tips, and one-on-one coaching. The Folk School provides the creative energy. Write here, then go home motivated to write more! For prose (fiction, non-fiction, memoir, blogging) or poetry. All levels welcome.

Ask the Folk School about 1/2 price tuition if you live in a near-by county.

Aug 1-Aug 3
For more info on the Folk School website, click here.  
or email kpaulholmesATgmailDOTCOM

Friday, February 17, 2012

                              Don’t Let Your Poetry Reading Send Your Audience to Dreamland

    I often read poetry in bed.  It quiets my mind and helps me fall asleep. Listening to others read poetry sometimes puts me to sleep, but that’s embarrassing when I’m sitting in a group of people.
    I have attended poetry readings where I became involved immediately. What is the secret?  Is it good poetry versus bad poetry? No.  The answer is Performance! Thomas A. Williams says in his book Poet Power, “Every good dramatic performance, as Aristotle taught two thousand years ago, has a beginning, a middle and an end. It builds slowly, reaches a climax, and then comes to a strong and satisfactory conclusion.  Your reading needs to do the same.”
    If you have attended a reading of a professional poet like Billy Collins and were drawn into his performance and hated for it to end, you can bet he planned that reading from the first to the last poem.  He knew just what he was going to say about each poem to lead you into it and help you love it.  He didn’t get up to the podium, stand there in silence and thumb through a stack of papers, trying to make up his mind what to read next while you sat  wondering if you should pick up some milk on your way home.
    Even the best poetry loses me when it’s read too fast, with no expression, or when read without introduction or a break. The talk between poems is what Williams calls patter. He believes in using humor to warm up the listeners. “Kick things off in a light vein, establish a tone of fun from the very beginning” Williams says.
    A congenial personality, a smile and interesting patter goes a long way in selling you and your poetry. The audience won’t feel comfortable with you if you jump into your reading without some comments to introduce yourself first. The reading will be over before they even begin to focus attention on your poetry.    
    Williams also says in Poet Power that he believes in letting his audience know it is perfectly acceptable to clap, laugh, whistle or shout encouragement during his reading. At most poetry readings “there seems to be no socially acceptable audience reaction other than polite Victorian restraint. The poet finishes reading a piece and is met with dead silence. The poet has no idea where he stands with his audience.  If they like it, silence.  If they don’t like it, silence…It is their love of poetry that keeps them (mostly) awake.”
    When you look out at your listeners and see eyes glazed over or heads bowed as though in prayer, you aren’t selling yourself or your poetry.  You might have to wake some to let them know you’re done.

Check out my reading, Thursday, February 16, at John C. Campbell Folk School at 7:00 p.m.  Mary Ricketson, an award-winning poet is the other featured reader for the evening.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is teaching at John Campbell Folk School

I hope to get into Jayne Jaudon Ferrer's class at JCCFS this summer. You know Jayne is a poet and delightful speaker. I look forward to getting to know her as a teacher. Jayne is the NCWN West Representative for S.C.

Her books show her humor and her sensitivity to all the subjects we deal with in our daily lives.

See information about her class here.

Harnessing the Power of Words will be taught at John C. Campbell Folk School August 15 - 21. 2010.
Instructor: Jayne Jaudon Ferrer
Class Description:
Each of us has something important to say, but just as we speak in different dialects, we write in different genres. Find your writing niche as we explore the power and appeal of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, memoir, journals, letters and blogs.

This class will help you find the format best suited to your voice through creative writing prompts, supportive sharing, and gentle critiques. From business people to retirees, novelists to bloggers...all are welcome.

TUITION for the full week is $527.00. If you have not been to the John Campbell Folk School, you must come and experience the delight of the community , the excellent food served three times a day, the music and entertainment, and best of all, the people you meet here. Lasting friendships are formed in this special place.

Folks who live in the local area are eligible for 1/2 price tuition. But you have to ask.