On the river! - Photo: Arlene Rosenkrans

On the river! - Photo: Arlene Rosenkrans


by Arlene Rosenkrans, 2017

The energetic river guides hefted the rafts down the gravel embankment of the gray, churning Kennicott River. Along with the normal camping gear, food and supplies, odd-shaped dry bags protecting guitars, mandolin, percussion and a library of books and songs were loaded. Riversong 2017 launched!

David Grimes and Brad Warren - Photo:  Arlene Rosenkrans

David Grimes and Brad Warren - Photo: Arlene Rosenkrans

The participants this year, ranging in age from nine AND A HALF to over 70 had gathered at the Wrangell Mountains Center’s rustic Old Hardware Store – getting to know each other, and instructors Nancy Cook and guest artists, David Grimes and Brad Warren. The welcoming dinner prepared by Robbie, Dana, and Maya included fresh greens and rhubarb dessert from the Center’s garden.

During our writing orientation, we ventured in the rain out to the toe of the Kennicott Glacier for Haiku inspired by mountain vistas, Dryas, rock, and bear.
 A Community Word Jam at WMC’s Porphyry Place featured writing and song from the workshop leaders, followed by an open mic for an eclectic, entertaining, and compelling mix of song and prose from the community.

The river trip, three nights along the Kennicott, Nizina, Chitina, and mighty Copper was a time for inspiration, with morning writing circles led by Nancy. Writers explored various styles and genres, sharing them in small circles. Evenings were filled with song around driftwood campfires after hearty meals served up by the McCarthy River Tours & Outfitters crew.

River veteran David unfurled flags for each raft on the first night and theme songs interwoven into RiverSong were David’s “Water, Water, Water” and “The Copper River” along with a collaborative song write led by Brad: “The Waters We Come From”. Izzie, on her maiden float along her river namesake the Nizina, led all who ventured to hours of play in squishy, ankle-sucking mud stomps.

2017 RiverSong Crew - Photo:  Arlene Rosenkrans

2017 RiverSong Crew - Photo: Arlene Rosenkrans

The Final Fire was much anticipated by all, with a circle of writing and song shared. And here we share a writing using renga poetic style, where the journal was passed between writers Nancy, Arlene, Meg and Jennifer, inspired after navigating the Nizina Canyon.

At O’Brian Creek, downriver from the town of Chitina, the rafts were unloaded and all said farewell, departing with journals and memories filled with writings, song, and inspiration.

Interested in registering for the 2018 RiverSong Writing Workshop? Learn more and register HERE!

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