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Think Conferences Aren’t for You? Think Again!

The Nebraska Poetry Society’s upcoming October 2023 poetry

retreat is cleverly disguised as a conference (wink, wink!). Don’t worry, though, because you can make the weekend whatever you need it to be. And regardless of what you call it, it’s a great opportunity for poets across the region to come together in a safe, nurturing, educational environment. But in case you can’t come up with a good reason to attend, let me help you.


The truth is that retreats and conferences both provide benefits that you may not be aware of—or maybe you are aware but just never gave it much thought. Here are some very good reasons to attend the NPS 2023 Poetry Retreat:


1. A Chance to Get Away from Everyday Life. Who doesn’t want that?! Retreats and conferences afford you an escape from the everyday, a break from routines and normal responsibilities (kids, spouses, etc. J). And not only do they give you this often much-needed and well-deserved escape, they give you a really good reason for it: “It’s educational!” Who can argue with that?


2. The Opportunity to Travel Somewhere New. OK, admit it. You’ve been dying to go to Norfolk. You know you have! OK, that might not be the best example. It’s not like the retreat is in Paris. But hey, anytime you have the chance to exist in a new space is a chance to clear your head and take in something new. Our personal environments matter, and our brains can get stuck in ruts—ever hear someone who lives near mountains say that they forget to even notice the mountains after living there for X years? Any change in environment helps to stimulate our brains and awaken our powers of observation. This is a good thing for poets!


3. A Way to Learn Stuff. Obviously, the main point of conferences is to expose its attendants to new information, new skills, and new ways of looking at stuff, and that’s precisely what the NPS retreat will provide for you, along with the opportunity to just be. The benefits here are pretty self-evident.


4. Exposure to New Perspectives. Along with learning new techniques, exploring craft, and finding inspiration, you’ll have the opportunity to be exposed to new perspectives, whether they’re from the presenters or from the poets/artists whose work you might explore in the different presentations. Every time you read a new poem or listen to a new speaker, you encounter a new perspective that can influence or inspire you in brand new ways (notice my clever use of identical rhyme in the constant repetition of the word new!).


5. A Chance to Meet People You Admire. Nebraska—and the central US in general—abounds with extraordinarily talented and insightful authors, artists, and poets. You see their names in local publications, blogs, and other websites, and you hear them in conversation, on podcasts, and from other sources. Well, now you have the chance to meet some of them, share ideas, and pick their brains. That’s a pretty great reason to show up.


6. Find Your Community. I once went to an editing conference (sounds exciting, right?) and was amazed to find myself among my people for the first time. The experience blew me away. Anytime you have a chance to convene with your people, to network, to learn, or to just hang out and make new friends, you’ll have an enriching experience that may just change your life forever.


Whether you’re interested in the classes or you simply want an escape from the everyday where you can be still and find some inspiration, the Nebraska Poetry Retreat is something you should definitely consider. The benefits are many, not only to you, the poet, but also to you, the person.


We hope to see you there!

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