Albert DeGenova | The Norbert Blei Writing Workshop…A Tradition Continues

19 06 2014

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Norbert Blei is whispering in my ear.

“Don’t forget to say that it all begins with poetry.”
“Make sure they understand the power of the small moment.”
“We breathe telling tales.”

I am preparing to teach The Norbert Blei Writing Workshop at The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay, Wisc. This is the second year that I will lead the class without Norb. Of course, I have a partner in teaching the class (just as Norb always had his “assistant” which over the years became “co-teacher”) and I couldn’t do it without her. We are both long-time Norbert Blei students and truly co-teachers. Last June, when many of us were still hurting from the loss of Norbert in April, I tried to incorporate as much of Norb into my teaching as I could. His presence was so strong within the class and at The Clearing. Of course, I cannot be Norb. There is only one Norbert Blei. I will teach the class as Albert DeGenova. Norb would have insisted on that.

Yet, Norbert continues to whisper in my ear…and he keeps “sending” me things to read, quotes from Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Basho, Kerouac.

“Write what is true.”
“Write what you know.”
“Your way is the only way”

As with any teacher and student, I know I have absorbed much of Norb’s direction and style. Both of us who teach the class cannot deny his influence. But just as any great maestro brings the wisdom of his own life and learning to his student, the student becomes their own artist. We have become the writers we are, and the teachers we are, because of Norbert’s influence on the people that we are. This is the way.

And in this way we keep the legacy of Norbert Blei alive. Here in the Poetry Dispatch, at The Clearing, as Norbert’s books continue to sell, but most importantly in our own writing. His voice keeps whispering in all of our ears. Norb recognized the power of the internet and embraced it. Simply search Norbert Blei’s name and you will find his legacy. Or join us at The Clearing for the annual workshop, all writers are welcome.

To some this may be old news now, but it bears repeating. Nearly two years prior to his death in 2013, Norbert invited some of his long-time students (all accomplished writers themselves) to contribute essays to a book he intended to write about his years as a teacher at The Clearing. The book would be his personal perspective on teaching, students and the importance of place, specifically The Clearing.

Layout 1The Professor’s Quarters is a collection of those student essays. It is a book about Love: the love of a teacher, a place and the writing life.

The book is published by After Hours Press through the financial support of enthusiastic sponsors and will be donated to The Clearing for sale in the bookstore, beginning June 22, 2014. All profits from the sale of the book are dedicated for use as a scholarship fund for the continuing Norbert Blei Writing Workshop week at The Clearing.

For those readers of Norbert Blei’s books, articles and blogs, The Professor’s Quarters offers insights to the man and his teaching style, but also the place he found so important in his own life. Order at: http://goo.gl/v2UTje





Norb Blei’s Clearing Students Revive Book Project

11 06 2014

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Norb Blei’s Clearing Students Revive Book Project

ELLISON BAY, WI (June 7, 2014) – The Clearing Folk School is where Norbert Blei taught a week long writing workshop every summer for nearly 45 years. The school, built by land architect Jens Jensen, is situated atop one of the most beautiful bluffs in Door County. This is Norb Blei’s Door County, the subject of much of his writing.

Nearly two years prior to his death in 2013, Norbert invited some of his long-time students (all accomplished writers themselves) to contribute essays to a book he intended to write about his years as a teacher at The Clearing. The book would be his personal perspective on teaching, students and the importance of place, specifically The Clearing.

The Professor’s Quarters is a collection of those student essays, compiled and edited by long-time Blei students and assistants Al DeGenova, Alice D’Alessio, Susan O’Leary and Jude Genereaux. This is a book about Love: the love of a teacher, a place and the writing life.

The book has been published at the expense of enthusiastic sponsors and will be donated to The Clearing for sale in the school’s on-site bookstore, beginning June 22, 2014. All profits from the sale of the book are dedicated for use as a scholarship fund for the continuing Norb Blei week at The Clearing.

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Nearly two years prior to his death in 2013, faithful friend and supporter of After Hours, Norbert Blei invited some of his long-time students, all accomplished writers themselves, to contribute essays to a book he intended to write about his years as a teacher at The Clearing Folk School in Door County, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, time ran out before his vision was taken to fruition.

In the winter of 2013-14,the essays were gathered and compiled by Alice D’Alessio, Albert DeGenova, Jude Genereaux and Susan O’Leary and (in the spirit Norb foresaw)are now being published by After Hours Press as the new book entitled The Professor’s Quarters.

This collection stands as testimony to The Clearing, to Norb as Teacher, and to his writer-students. The book will be published this spring with profits going to the continuing “Scholarship Fund” for the Norbert Blei Week at The Clearing.

If you are interested in buying this book, please click here…








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