Presentations

MariewithJoeAll workshops can be adapted – and new ones created – to fit the unique needs and characteristics of all kinds of schools, students, and other groups.  The workshops are appropriate for upper elementary students through adults.

A Tale of Three Cities:  A Multi-Media Presentation Based on the Book, Something About America
If you can’t find the welcome mat when you arrive, put one out yourself. Through readings, still slides, and clips from Ziad Hamzeh’s gripping documentary, The Letter, I will re-create the perfect storm of events that culminated in the largest police action in Maine history.  What happened in Lewiston in 2003 thrust Maine into the national spotlight, exposing both great shame and the state’s finest hour.  This presentation is suited for large groups or assemblies of students and can also be used as a training tool for faculty or other adult groups working with students in the areas of immigration and civil rights.  (Approximately 45 minutes, Q&A upon conclusion.)

Writing Critique Group
This is a special workshop for the self-identified or teacher-identified good writers.  Students will submit a 1-5 page sample of their best creative writing (fiction or poetry) to me 3 to 4 weeks before my visit.  During the workshop, I will present each student with a written critique of his/her writing, and I will then lead the group in a peer critique exercise, conducted in much the same way as a professional writer’s critique group.  We will also discuss the business of writing and writing for publication.
(1 – 1 ½ hours; no more than 15 students)

Writing from Prompts
In this pure, no-holds-barred creative writing workshop, students will free-write in various styles as they are inspired by different prompts (written, photo, and object).  I will invite volunteers to read the results out loud and subject themselves to light-hearted critique.  Throughout the workshop, we will discuss the art of writing and question why so many of us view writing as a chore.  This one is not for editors!  1 class/1 class period

Creating a Class Character
Everyone in this workshop will have a hand in creating one unusual character.  I will ask each student a different, simple, top-of-the-head question about a personal trait.  Together, we will combine all of these traits to create our class character (budding illustrators may have something special to offer here).  I will then ask the students to write first from that character’s perspective (1st person) and then from someone else’s perspective on that character (3rd person).  I, of course, will participate fully – and subject myself to student critique!
(1 class/1 class period)

“Annotated” Readings from Becoming Joe DiMaggio, Almost Forever or Something About America
Here’s my chance to answer the question: “Where do you get your ideas?”  In this workshop, I will read selections from one of my novels-in-verse, pausing often to offer explanations, anecdotes, and memories about the stories behind the poems.  I will encourage all kinds of questions and dialogue throughout.  This workshop is particularly effective when students have read the novel under discussion.  1 class/1 class period

Personal Graffiti
This is a good end-of-the-day, final session, especially for those students who do their best work when they’re not seated behind a desk.  I will first lead the class in a brief discussion of graffiti and what it means in a historical, political, and social context.  We will then ask the question: Is this art?  We will then explore the power of self-expression in one of its most elemental forms: one word/one image.  Students will then have the opportunity to try their hand at graffiti, working on large sheets of newsprint on the walls or on the floor.  1 class/1 class period

Fees:
$1000 per day, plus travel expenses, within Maine
$1250 per day, plus travel expenses, outside of Maine
Single presentations and half days are negotiable

Contact:
mtesta@maine.rr.com