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News Roundup -- Guterson class for young folks/Poems to take life’s measure/Picnic with the old-timers/Jazz will heat up the park

Guterson class for young folks

In a twist on the stereotypical “What I did this summer” assignment, Field’s End asks interested high-school writers to work on their “best fiction” for a class next winter.

David Guterson, a member of the writing group’s core team for its first three years and the best-selling author of “Snow Falling on Cedars,” will offer a fiction writing class next winter for students, who will be selected based on writing samples.

“I had been part of many conversations about how to expand our services to younger people,” Guterson said. “A Field’s End class seemed the most direct way to meet what we perceive, perhaps anecdotally, as a need.”

For the class, eight students from Bainbridge and North Kitsap will be selected for a nine-week class to be held once a week during February and March 2006. Times, dates and location are still to be determined.

Guterson, who taught English at Bainbridge High School from 1984-94, said the classes will be focused on revising and improving existing work “by incorporating suggestions and applying new knowledge about craft.”

Given that school will be in session, Guterson said he didn’t want to burden students with producing new work during the classes.

The first session will be an introduction to the main conventions of fiction writing and progress in a workshop-type fashion, with careful critiques of student works.

Based on how this program goes, it may later be expanded to meet the needs of younger writers.

Interested high-school students should submit about 20 pages of their best fiction by Dec. 17. As it becomes available, more information will be posted at www.fieldsend.org.

—Tina Lieu

Poems to take life’s measure

Reading a poem by his friend Bonnie Wallace from the 2005 Island Portraits poetry project, island composer Paul Lewis was touched by the line “How do we measure our lives?”

“It felt like the kind of question a person might ask and attempt to answer if she thought that she might never write another page again...It got me thinking what a poet might write as a last poem,” Lewis said, “something that might express the measure of his or her life.”

With that thought, Lewis and Wallace are inviting poets of all ages to submit their “last poem on Earth.” Lewis, best known on the island for writing the book, music and lyrics for “The Recollection of Flight,” performed at the Playhouse last year, will set seven to 10 selected poems to music for a future performance.

Poets should be residents of Bainbridge Island or of the near vicinity.

Each poem will be set to one piece of music, with the pieces forming a single work. Lewis, who also writes jazz, envisions a performance by singers backed up by a chorus and a jazz ensemble.

There is also possible secondary use of works in a small chapbook or CD. Poets will retain copyright of poems.

Submit poems by Sept. 1 to Last Poem on Earth Project, c/o Bonnie Wallace, 16181 Agate Pass Road NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 (include a SASE for return of materials) or to bjwallace@aol.com. Selected poets will be notified by Dec. 1.

—Tina Lieu

Picnic with the old-timers

Islanders young and old are invited to the Annual Old-Timers’ and Storytellers’ potluck picnic, hosted by the Bainbridge Historical Society. This year’s event will take place at noon today under the trees at the historical museum, located at 215 Ericksen Ave.

“The society has been holding this get-together for many years,” said education coordinator Joan Piper. “This is our first summer downtown and we’re looking forward to it.”

People just show up and sit and reminisce, she said. The usual participants are residents who have lived here a long time and like to talk about life on the island, but the potluck is for everybody.

About 35 people show up, Piper said.

The event’s master of ceremonies is native son Reid Hansen, the “heart and soul of this organization,” according to Piper. Hansen was born in and grew up in Crystal Springs.

His co-host is Gary Loverich, a descendant of the island’s Croatian fishing community.

The MC will get the group started on a topic and one thing leads to another, with stories about what the island was like years ago.

“We like to have new people come and find out about their neighbors and their neighborhoods,” Piper said. “We have a canopy in case of rain.”

—Rhona Schwartz

Jazz will heat up the park

The Latin jazz quartet Clave Con Jazz plays 7-8:30 p.m. July 20 at Waterfront Park, as part of the Bainbridge Island Park and Recreation District’s free summer concert series.

Clave refers to a simple rhythmic figure that is the backbone of Latin music.

The group, voted Best Latin Jazz and Best Jazz group in 2000 and 2001 at the Kitsap County Music Awards, consists of percussionist Malo Castro. Completing the group are TJ Clement on keyboard, drummer Seth Littlefield and upright bass Marshall Troland.

In case of rain, the concert will be held at the Commons.

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