SARAH VEST – STAFF WRITER
Language makes up the fabric of our communities and connects people across distance and time. Danielle Legros Georges and Zelda Lockhart use their different crafts to reflect on the nature of language and the way people tell their stories.
Georges and Lockhart are Chautauqua Writers’ Center’s Week Two poet- and prose writers-in-residence, respectively. These writers are bringing Chautauquans into Week Two with a reading at 3:30 p.m. EDT Saturday on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch. They will also be teaching writing workshops over the course of the week through the CHQ Assembly Online Classroom.
Georges will be teaching “The Languages of Home,” which focuses on the languages that people carry within themselves and the way they can honor them through poetry. Meanwhile, Lockhart will be teaching “The Mirror Exercise with Zelda Lockhart.” This workshop centers around a series of prompts designed to help writers build a short story or personal essay utilizing reflection to examine one relationship in their life.
For her reading, Georges will be reading a variety of poems from her book The Dear Remote Nearness of You, which is the winner of the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Margaret Motten book prize, as well as a couple of translations from her new book Island Heart: The Poems of Ida Faubert.
As an immigrant from Haiti, Georges frequently had to step into the role of an interpreter from a young age. As a result the “idea of moving between languages” has always been part of her experience. Her Haitian heritage is what initially sparked her interest in Haitian literature and ancient writers in general.
While in college, Georges discovered an early 20th century Haitian French poet whose work captured her attention, partially because she looked to her as a “literary foremother.”
And so began her 10-year-long quest to bring the work of Ida Faubert to Anglophone readers.
“I’d like to think that my work operates within what’s called the engagée tradition, for which issues of social commentary and social justice are not disconnected to questions of craft,” Georges said.
Lockhart takes a much more intuitive approach to the readings that she does. As of early last week, Lockhart was unsure of what she is going to read, other than the fact it will be a piece of her prose work, though she does dabble in poetry as well as writing, directing and editing film.
“There’s intent,” said Lockhart, who holds a doctoral degree in expressive arts therapies, a master’s degree in literature and a certificate in writing, directing and editing from the New York Film Academy. “I leave lots of room for what is more important to me than intent, which is discovery, and to be in real time, because that’s what I feel the art is. The art is call and response. If I get so in the mode of deciding what I’m going to read, it’s kind of like deciding to have the response to a conversation you haven’t had, to someone you haven’t met.”
Her book, The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript: Turning Life’s Wounds into the Gift of Literary Fiction, focuses on what she calls “creative saboteurs,” or what stands between someone and their creative journey.
In addition to their readings and workshops the Week Two writers-in-residence will be offering Brown Bags to discuss their craft. Georges will be giving her talk “The Languages We All Carry: An Introduction to Translation” at 12:15 p.m. EDT on Tuesday on the Virtual Porch.
Lockhart’s talk is inspired by the third chapter of The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript titled “Spelunking and Internal Saboteurs.” Her Brown Bag, “Naming & Repurposing Your Creative Saboteurs,” will be at 12:15 p.m. EDT Friday on the Virtual Porch.