Salisbury Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY EMILY THIEL From left: Anthony Rodale, Marilyn Hazelton and Florence Rodale at FloreAnt Projects Gallery, 215 Main St., Emmaus, where the next PRESS PHOTO BY EMILY THIEL From left: Anthony Rodale, Marilyn Hazelton and Florence Rodale at FloreAnt Projects Gallery, 215 Main St., Emmaus, where the next "Sustaining the Soul Through Creative Discovery" workshop is March 23.

Sustaining the inner poet

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 by EMILY THIEL Special to The Press in Focus

Marilyn Hazelton taps into creative roots at FloreAnt Projects Gallery workshops

All art forms have a poetry expressed by the artist and the work they create.

With "Sustaining the Soul Through Creative Discovery," Marilyn Hazelton offers inspiration to allow one to tap into his or her creative self by writing poetry.

In a series of four workshops at FloreAnt Projects Gallery, 215 Main St., Emmaus, Hazelton guides participants through a background of poetic Japanese art forms, and as a communal group, participants work together to discover and harness their inspiration.

Hazelton's next workshop, 9 a.m. - noon March 23, concentrates on creative biography by combing meditative prose with tanka or haiku and photographs to create haibun, a Japanese literary form.

The final session, 9 a.m. - noon April 20, celebrates spring and incorporates participants' photographs with tanka, haiku or haibun.

Hazelton's monthly workshops began in January and conclude next month.

Anthony and Florence Rodale opened FloreAnt Projects Gallery about one and one-half years ago.

The gallery features artists from San Francisco and New York whose work is global in scope. The Rodales' focus is to show sustainability through the art of photography.

"We want to show how people use visual images to learn themselves, change and make an impact on their own lives," Anthony Rodale says.

Florence Rodale's photography, now on view in the gallery, is based on motions, thoughts, ideas and sensual moments.

"We've created our own community here," Florence Rodale says. "We like creating poetry and photography" in the space of the gallery.

Hazelton, in synch with the gallery's sustainability goal, held a workshop at FloreAnt Gallery in December.

"Because of the response [we had], there were four more offered for 2013," says Anthony Rodale.

Hazelton is Poet-in-Residence at The Swain School, Salisbury Township; a teaching artist with the Pennsylvania Council on the arts; a regular presenter at Haiku Society of America meetings; and an editor of red lights, an international tanka journal.

She received an Arts Ovation Award in the category of Literary Arts from the Allentown Arts Commission in 2006.

Hazelton draws from her educational background to inspire those in the workshop by allowing them to feel "comfortable that however you think is just right."

She uses her knowledge of poetry to inspire work within oneself. For her, writing through artistic formats sustains her spirituality and opens up her ceative channels.

With "Sustaining the Soul Through Creative Discovery," Hazelton strives for a mindfulness that is developed, sparked by creativity.

Each workshop uses haiga, a form where art and poetry work together. The form dates to an ancient tradition of ink illustrations and poems being created in tandem, but as one art form.

"Writing in these forms informs all my writing, whether it's non-fiction or essay," she elaborates, adding that having to be selective of the specific words is incredibly helpful with revising her writing and allows her to better understand and express detail.

Hazelton's first session covered composing tanka, a five-phrase Japanese poetic form. The second was about how to write a haiku, a three-phrase Japanese form, coinciding with February's National Haiku Writing Month.

The gallery is crisp and calm as the space opens up the channels of inspiration. A session is limited to 18 participants. Each brings one to three photographs and writes poetry in response to or inspired by beauty.

At last month's session, Hazelton explains to participants, "Sustaining the spirit is work and needs to be done," adding the importance of "finding an authentic place within the self."

Working in a group gives support for the work and also hints to the tradition of the poetry. The response to beauty is more traditional, where Hazelton encourages participants to allow themselves to be open.

From the workshops, Hazelton hopes that attendees are "encouraged to be creative in the following weeks, months, years.

"I'm hoping they will come back, and be encouraged to photograph, to write, to have a particular experience," Hazelton says.

"Everyone walks away with something," says Anthony Rodale, emphasizing that the experience "let's you know how to go deeper into yourself and your work and share it."

Workshop information: floreantprojects.com, 610-421-8871