Restless Pursuits in Art & Literature: A Writing Workshop with Rena Priest

On the occasion of Diana Al-Hadid: Archive of Longings, the Henry presents a series of writing workshops with three Pacific Northwest writers who will lead sessions that continue the processes of influence suggested in Al-Hadid’s work, as well as give community participants opportunity to consider "archives" that live close to home and heart. Fed by multiple literary, artistic, and other cultural sources, Diana Al-Hadid’s sculptures meditate on the conflicts and ruptures exposed when these stories are brought together. The intention of this workshop series is to add to the archive of longings that Al-Hadid’s work represents. 

In the second workshop of the series, Washington State poet laureate Rena Priest asks, what is this impulse to write and create art? Is it a wish to document, preserve, and archive the poignant moments of our lives? Is it a wish to respond to the beautiful things we encounter? To explain the questions and desires within us?

In Diana Al-Hadid’s Archive of Longings, we meet the figure of Gradiva. Originally a character from a novella by Willhelm Jensen, Gradiva presents an allegory of how art can capture us and inspire us toward restless pursuits. This writing workshop will offer opportunities to reflect upon the work of Diana Al-Hadid’s Archive of Longings, as well as to make our own attempts at creating work that acts as a bridge for thoughts, feelings, and moments across time and space, while archiving information in the climate-controlled rooms of our poems, essays, and stories. 

ARTIST BIO

Rena Priest is a Poet and an enrolled member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She has been appointed to serve as the Washington State Poet Laureate for the term of April 2021 - 2023. She is a Vadon Foundation Fellow and recipient of an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award. Her debut collection, Patriarchy Blues (MoonPath Press) received an American Book Award. She is a National Geographic Explorer (2018 - 2020) and a Jack Straw Writer (2019). She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.
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