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Master the Written Word in the Heart of Italy

I met Cecilia Woloch on one of her first trips to Paris not long after I arrived in France in 1994. We were introduced by a mutual friend from Los Angeles, and quickly accepted an invitation to hear her poetry read at a little English language bookshop on the left bank. It was the first time being exposed to poetry in live form, but I was mesmerized from the outset. Woloch is not only one of the finest and formidable poets of our time, but is a master thespian whose style of reading is both enthralling and seductive.

That was my first introduction to poetry and Cecilia Woloch. Many readings followed over the years as her myriad of books went into publication, her writing workshops in the States took shape, and I hosted or encouraged additional readings here in Paris whenever she would visit. Then in 2003, I organized the first Paris Poetry Workshop with Cecilia Woloch as teacher, director, guru.

Today, Woloch has three published books of poetry and prose: “Late,” driven by the alternating energies of prose poems and free verse; “Tsigan,” a book-length poetic meditation that intertwines her personal journey of identity with the larger forces in the world that have shaped the Roma people’s fate and fortunes; and “Sacrifice,” hailed by poet-critic David St. John as ‘an extraordinary debut,’ ‘poems of exquisite sensuality matched only by their heart-breaking delicacy.'”

Woloch now has more than 20 years of experience teaching poetry and creative writing at all levels and in a variety of settings. She’s taught at universities throughout the U.S. and around the world, in both graduate and undergraduate programs for writers, and has led writing workshops for students and teachers in elementary and secondary schools, for youth-at risk, participants in Elderhostel programs, employees at Disney’s Imagineering headquarters, and in prisons, hospitals, and museums. She is also the founding director of both Summer Poetry in Idyllwild and of course, The Paris Poetry Workshop.

My favorite of all of Woloch’s poems is “East India Grill Villanelle”…

Across the table, Bridget sneaks a smile;
she’s caught me staring past her at the man
who brings us curried dishes, hot and mild.

His eyes are blue, intensely blue, hot sky;
his hair, dark gold; his skin like cinnamon.
He speaks in quick-soft accents; Bridget smiles.

We’ve come here in our summer skirts, heels high,
to feast on fish and spices, garlic naan,
bare-legged in the night air, hot and mild…

(To read the rest of the poem, visit /parlerparis/poetry/east_india_grill.html)

I remember this waiter at the East India Grill in Los Angeles! He was unforgettable and Woloch captured the mood like an impressionist painting.

Not long after one of her stays in Paris, she constructed another dear to my heart…”43 rue de Saintonge.” My Paris home remains forever branded in history with her words:

There was a book full of fallen leaves that had not been read
There was a chance
There was a chair near a window, a lamp
There was a sky of hammered tin with a few thin clouds in it, some birds

There was a chance
A noise in the courtyard like rain, and rain, and the clatter of keys
There was a sky of hammered tin with a few thin clouds in it, some birds
And several clocks at once and, everywhere, bridges, a river like smoke…

(To read the rest of the poem, visit /parlerparis/articles/saintonge.html)

But you see, I have digressed…as her writings seduce me into dreaming of far away places. Everyone who has listened to her read or taken her workshops will undoubtedly agree.

And now you have an opportunity to be so enlightened and to learn from the master.

This coming March 4 through 10 in the beautiful, quaint and medieval village of Centro Pokkoli, Vitorchiano, Italy, just one hour’s drive from Rome, you will participate with Cecilia Woloch and a international community of writers in an intensive, mixed-genre workshop, open to writers at all levels of development. There is a limited number of participants to ensure an intimate and collaborative work environment. Woloch’s workshop exercises will help you generate new writing, and feedback from the group will help you begin shaping that material into poems, short stories and personal essays.

I won’t tell you more myself. You need to read Woloch’s own words. Click here now to read all about this exciting week in Italy with Cecilia Woloch — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Do not hesitate before it’s too late. Click here to learn more and register:


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