“Beyond Academia brings a dormant beast of poetic evolution out of its cryogenic capsule of Nederland Colorado. Where the beats left off and from work they never even studied from poets greater past. BAFS will awaken the poet in anyone and breathe life into those of us with volumes unread.
“Self improvement for those who care to participate makes the experience more than adequately salubrious because I searched friggin’ thesaurus.com for a synonym for holistic because I hate buzzwords almost as much as I love The Love Shovel. The instruction is all top level material from world-class instructors with a passion for their communities. One example of improvement is camp and workshops keep me focused on how my writing is expressed in terms of form, poetics, word choice, communication, performance, verbage instead of just content and feelings. Also I hate long surveys and giving people testimonial at night stoned when I should be doing laundry or working on this “poetry” thing so this is an example of how Love Shovel has opened my heart to care about doing these sorts of things more for people.
BAFS has not only taught me to be a better poet/writer, but a kinder, more open minded person. I have learned what it means to contribute to a community, and seen how through cooperation with others great things can be accomplished. I have been exposed to different perspectives, and have grown as a human. I have also grown to be more comfortable in my own skin.
Focusing on both technique and personal mental entrapments, BAFS classes help direct me to the substance of my inspiration through all manner of whimsical prompt and analysis. The summer camp environment surrounds the students in undeniable natural beauty and reinforces a sense of solidarity among artists, true effort, and accountability, all of which are essential to radical growth in my creating.
These guys are passionate and they do great work. They know how to inspire and cultivate creativity and community.
BAFS provides an environment that fosters artistic expression far beyond anything I’ve been exposed to in ‘academia.’ We learn & get exposed to many writers & poets throughout history; use many ‘tools,’ ideas newly exposed to for completing assignments, along with the invaluable opportunity to give & receive feedback (from more than just the teacher). I have always believed everyone has something to learn from, that we are all teachers and students. Love shovel poetry camp is an excellent real-world example of how well society could function using a cooperative model, as opposed to a competitive one.
I only got to experience 2 days of the summer poetry workshops, I also had a small child. What I appreciated was the patience and willingness of group to include me and my three year old. And I appreciated being challenged. I’ve been writing poetry for over a decade, I get told from many I’m good at it. The workshops took out of my comfort zone and brought me back to the basics. Who is my audience? What is my rhyme scheme, if any? Can you edit a poem to reflect a new lesson or different reader? I appreciate the passion of teachers and patience of students.
-ElizaBeth M Whittington
BAFS is an incredible boon and blessing for all us autodidacts: to have access to stellar, top-shelf teachers; total immersion in a creative community – a diverse community on so many levels – a community of peers; inspiration, encouragement, critique and mayhem in nourishing balance; being pushed to stretch beyond not only what we thought we were capable of as writers and creatives, but beyond who we thought we were as human beings. So very glad this is manifesting on our very own planet! Bravo!
-Sea G Rhydr
There is so much inspiration to draw from the BAFS curriculum because it doesn’t hold the same limiting characteristics as a traditional educational environment. The teachers are informative, friendly and helpful. The structure of BAFS allows me to explores areas of poetry I am no familiar with and bring confidence to my poetic explorations. I will be back for more!
Eric Fischman’s and Ira Liss’s classes stand out to me as really bringing new playfulness to me and my work. Their classes in both years I have attended have allowed me to open up and access (silly) aspects of myself and my writing voice that I never would have gotten to otherwise. Louise’s class in ’15 also did that job. The Black Market Translation show in ’16 was off the charts… super fantastic. The BAFS Teacher and Student Features at the Laughing Goat on So You’re a Poet Mondays were a big highlight of 2016 camp for me. We had a great turn out of both teachers and students at both and I loved have Thom Peters engage with BAFS as a teacher. Engaging with BAFS these last 4 years (as a student, Coffee & Prompts guide for Summer Camp and now as Summer Camp Director) has made me a hero. It’s increased my poetry output, encouraged me to read my poetry publicly, has increased my social and instructional confidence, and has given an outlet for my organizational frenzy. BAFS makes your poetry better, your performance better, and incubates heroes for the poetry community.
Attending BAFS not only helped me better understand poetry, but the brain. How it sets up comfortable constructions, and how we must tear those down and redefine them with our words. Our poetry must challenge, and play. Miss sitting in classes outside, twirling clovers in-between thoughts. Miss all the BAFS characters and the way they fit together like a puzzle inside me, despite all their crazy and unique edges. Miss the scream of Drunken Haiku Night, pulling samurai ponytails. Miss venturing down the dark, curvy hill to Boulder or beyond (Denver), to listen to all that’s beyond me and within you — how we shared our minds, the most important thang we can do.
Marcus is a genius and incredible instructor. He taught me that poetry was a living breathing organ. The knowledge, freedom and soul I gained from the experience will stick with me for life
-C. J. Gillespie
BAFS represents a dialogue of poetry and heritage that many view as a creature of the past. I’m not saying they’re a dinosaur, I’m saying they are Godzilla. I’ve often been critical of BAFS, but I remain impressed by their commitment to alternative education.
As a local weirdo writer and poet I find home amongst the bafs community. Bafs has helped me hone my writing skills along side my peers. It has helped me developed a sense self discovery and appreciation for what the writing community of Boulder has to offer. I have learned the rewards of editing and reviewing my work, as well as others. With out BAFS us poets wouldn’t have a home home! Thank you to everyone involved!
I haven’t been able to attend a lot of BAFS program due my work and family but every one I do make is impactful on me as a writer. The community challenges my writing and asks me to examine it thoroughly in order to craft it to the highest degree. Over my years as a writer I have experienced many different writing classes/programs and I’ve never experienced one so methodical in covering the entire picture of poetry. Personally I think it’s probably the best poetry program in the U.S.A and as things become more settled with my family I will become a devotee of the program to sharpen the blade of my writing to cut through to the core of this dream.
The experience of being at the summer school, allowed me to solidify my vision of the purpose of poetry as a style of exploring the diversity and possibilities of our culture. As a way of knowing the effects of history through personalised viewpoints and experienced as a lived expression. My dedication to the art form and my process of creative development has expanded to include a wide range of collaborations with artists in other styles. It has also inspired me to hold house concerts and events back in Australia with less limits to what is possible. Next time I am able to attend I will look forward to the collaborations, the explorations of others experiences of developing and delivering in their diverse styles. It truly is like stepping into a personalised curriculum from the most diverse library and lineage of living poets each with their own way of expressing with integrity and their personal power. Each one ready to gift you with a little shine and shaping to the edge of a facet of the gem of your own practice. Best personal and professional development course I have experienced.
Under the stars I found my community, beautiful people open to those from all walks of life. Thank you for holding this space.
I have written poetry for fifteen years but have never taken a class until BAFS. The most important thing to me when considering BAFS, is the usage of academic or formal processes in a non-linear, informal way; which means, my creativity isn’t stifled by academic expectations or grades. At BAFS I feel a freedom to express myself while honing in on poetic skills, which is an ideal balance in my book. BAFS is also very great for a nonjudgmental yet critical environment, meaning that the community is supportive but strive for each member’s success, through editorials and feedback. Not to mention that it’s FREE!
As someone who cannot always afford school or wishes to be plunged into debt, community taught workshops that are provided thru BAFS is incredibly important, not only for instruction, but for a sense of participation in a larger poetry community.
BAFS made me more confident in my writing, even in the limited amount of time I spent there. The community is infinitely creative and supportive.
Hope you get the big-ass grant! Summer poetry camp was a poet’s poetry workshop where no tradition, authority, institution, discourse, in short, anything claiming precedent over the individual voice, goes unchallenged.
I brought toilet paper and a bottle of whiskey to my first day at poetry camp–a selection from the camp wish list. I knew one person before attending. By the end of my first day, I knew everyone and loved them all. The Love Shovel community is family. Period. Everyone who arrives is supported, encouraged, pushed to write their asses off. It is perhaps the best series of workshops I’ve ever attended.
I look forward to BAFS camp every year. I love being a student just as much as I love teaching; and I feel that when I teach, I learn just as much from the students as they (hopefully) learn from me. BAFS brings out the best, and worst, in me–and it calls me to process, and rise above that “worst,” in a community full of supportive, and open-minded people.
Beyond Academia Free Skool provides an extension to the poetry community at large. Where writing workshops occur in saloons and forests, frat houses and walking- malls, classroom and libraries, inside and outside your own head; with constructive criticism, unique insights, and blantent self-expression; for whom it ain’t for no individual success, but purely for the celebration of a community-shared passion; the power of possibility that sparks in the eyes of so many BAFS participants is why this feeling will never die.
I love writing outside, with a community of inspired writers.
HOW HAS BAFS IMPROVED YOUR POETRY?
I always seem to return to workshops when I am ready to expose my underdeveloped chops for the next message on improving my writing.
I am more willing to throw things out, and I am more concise.
BAFS has introduced me to a community of writers, and asked me to write from foreign angles on command.
Exposed me to infinite possibilities with which to approach writing, performing, ‘accessing my muse; etc.
Showed me the structure of traditional poem formats so I can learn to bend the rules accordingly
I have been encouraged to incorporate magick, alchemy, and spellwork into my poetry. Writing in a community of great writers in a sincere motivator. I’ve written so much MORE because of BAFS so I have a lot of material to more forward with.
Added humor into my work; made my try on different voices
Always a reminder.
It has helped me in refining my work, as well as having the skills to constructively critique or review others work. It has brought new inspiration into my life!
It’s gotten me to examine my skill set as a writer and explore the outer boundaries of various skills to further develop my toolkit as a writer.
Coming from Australia specially for the camp brought me into a powerful and unique professional development experience. This experience facilitated me to explore my capacity as an artist, a performer, collaborator and group contributor. It stretched my capacity to articulate my internal world in diverse forms and styles. This camp is more like a vision quest that takes you to the heart of your own practice. Having so many opportunities to perform in different settings was powerful for me. Seeing the diversity of ways of performing and being able to see how that evolved from others practice and exercises, collaborating with artists and musicians and exploring how our poetry could be adapted to other genres, embodying our poetry as our way of life, powered up my willingness to try new things and explore the edges of the things I already was comfortable with. Giving me confidence and permission to go to places that were new to me, ways of delivery, styles of poetry, sources of inspiration and writing songs. Being up in the mountains grew the feeling of it not being ‘business as usual’ but an opportunity to explore the variety of exquisitely personified ways of being in the world and letting the poetry overflow out of the cooking, cleaning, chopping wood and developments of the relationships that solidified through the communal experience. The outdoor workshops and guest teachers brought into the space some of the great lineages of poets. It inspired our energy of being in a long line of utopian, dreamers that shaped the vision of the future of our societies. Finally it reinforced and affirmed for me that poetry is my way of life and that when I pursue it with passion and joy and integrity I will always have a strong community around me. In these times it is important to have support, to say the things you have to say and trust that people around you will stick by you, whether they agree with you or not.
Met great poets and generated lots of good stuff with new ideas!
Inspired. Thinking of audience. Editing skills.
-Whitney Beth Harris
Different methods of learning
informative and shared perspective ~ range of styles and expertise
I’ve been challenged to write in a variety of poetry forms. I’ve also felt free to tackle themes and subjects with more vigor and depth.
Every instructor brings something unique to share with their students, and I felt pushed in more different directions than I would have on my own. Just being around so many other writers and creative minds gets me jazzed, and challenges me to write in ways that I normally wouldn’t. Having gone through the traditional academic rigamarole already, BAFS is a breath of fresh air, where writers can truly express themselves without any censorship.
It has improved my teaching as I have “tried out” different new ideas in class
It has made me (a bit more) conscientious.