Holly Wren Spaulding
I grew up in an intentional community of socially engaged artists, activists and craftspeople who shared their interests in creativity, hand-making, sustainability, homesteading, music, storytelling, performance and visual art. Instead of televisions, I was surrounded by books and lovers of books, and the seeds of poetry were watered in me from the very beginning.
These days, I bring ideas, conversations and different forms of support to individuals and small groups interested in finding and making meaning in their art and in their lives. I teach writing classes and workshops, facilitate creative retreats, and cultivate structures and relationships where a spirit of mindfulness and solidarity supports our collective, ongoing efforts as writers, artists, cultural workers and human beings.
At the heart of all of this is my commitment to sharing useful practices and concrete skills that empower each one of us to thrive amidst the many social, technological and existential pressures of our time.
I am a writer, but also a mentor to writers; a teacher, leader and advocate for those who seek a path to the work they are most meant to do.
Most of all, I’m passionate about defending imagination’s rightful place in the lives of 21st century humans.
Background: I teach creative writing through Poetry Forge (Massachusetts), Poetry Boot Camp (Michigan), and beginning in 2015, at the Interlochen College of Creative Arts (northern Michigan). I’m the founder of LIFE/form and Co-director of STORYhouse, a small communications firm specializing in the art of narrative.
For five years I worked as part of a small team of filmmakers to produce the award-winning documentary, Flow (Dir. Irena Salina, 2008), about the global water crisis and how ordinary citizens are defending our water commons from corporate take-ver. My work appears in the book We Are Everywhere (2006), from Verso Press. My collection of poems, The Grass Impossibly (2008) was awarded publication by Michigan Writers Cooperative Press.
I’ve conducted trainings in consensus decision-making and direct action, built independent media infrastructures for print, radio, and web, and written for The Nation, The Ecologist, New Internationalist and other publications.
I am a former director of the Leelanau Young Writers Program at Leelanau School, former member of the Creative Writing Faculty at Northwestern Michigan College, and co-founder of the Live Poets Society. Until 2012, I served on the board of Michigan Writers, Inc. and was Senior Editor at Dunes Review.
Education: I studied creative writing and book-publishing and editing at the University of Michigan, Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) and Interlochen Arts Academy. My articles, essays and poems have appeared widely, most recently Michigan Quarterly Review, The Nation, Witness, Reed Magazine, Scintilla, Dunes Review and Wake.
Selected Awards and Recognition:
* Faculty Excellence Award, Northwestern Michigan College
*5 Avery Hopwood Awards, University of Michigan
*2 Pushcart Nominations
*’Best of the Web’ nomination
*Shaman Drum Poetry Prize
*Environmental Journalist of the Year Award, NMEAC
*The CuChulainn to Kavanaugh Award for Poetry (Northern Ireland)
*Rotary International Fellowship to Ireland
*Congress-Bundestag Scholarship to Germany
*Residencies and Fellowships to Blue Mountain Center, Mesa Refuge, The Jean Noble Parsons Center for the Study of Art & Science and The Hill House (I.S.L.A.N.D.)