Readings, Talks & Workshops

Are you looking for a moving talk or workshop?

Rick is a prize-winning book artist and poet as well as a veteran foreign correspondent in Israel with The New York Times. He combines his journalism experiences, knowledge of Hebrew poetry and his own artistry. He retells moving stories of his journey from reporter to poet and book artist. He is also a patient  teacher and good listener who is skilled at helping people write their own memoirs or poems.

He has a unique viewpoint on Israel and what it means to be Jewish today. He spent a number of years on the front lines and in Jerusalem. He reported on new Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the waves of Russian and Ethiopian immigrants and the first Persian Gulf  war.

It’s not easy to find a speaker outside of the usual political analyses and issues-oriented speakers. Black’s talks and workshops will touch you — and take you deep within.

Talks and Workshops

The Amichai Windows – A Journey Through the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai

Panel discussion at book launch of “The Amichai Windows”

Rick’s artist book,  The Amichai Windows, is a work of art.

A limited edition of 18 Amichai poems in Hebrew and English, the work also features collages of images from archives around the world. Here you’ll find gold leaf, handmade curtains and paper, botanical tip-ons and replicas of Amichai’s own handwriting.

As part of his talk about Amichai, Rick will weave in images from his artist book and discuss the process of making it. Reading the poetry of Yehuda Amichai, one of modern Israel’s leading Hebrew poets, is like taking a journey through Jerusalem as well as modern Jewish history.

Born in Wurzburg, Germany, in 1924, Amichai emigrated with his family to pre-WWII Palestine, served in the Israeli defense forces in the 1948 War of Independence, studied Bible and Hebrew literature at Hebrew University and then became a teacher.

In his Hebrew poetry, Amichai often draws on his own personal experiences of war and love. When TLP founder Rick Black spent some time with him in Philadelphia, Amichai told him, “Love can not save you from war, but it can help you deal with the pain.”

The same could be said of reading his poetry. It’s a way to keep one’s emotional balance and sense of humor in the face of grief and loss.

Please let us know if you’d be interested in having a temporary exhibition, poetry reading or talk.

Audience: Libraries, university classes, Jewish, poetry and book art conferences, synagogues and community centers. Talk: 45 minutes/ Q & A: 15 – 30 minutes

Quite a moving and informative evening. . . we are so glad to have his artist book here at Yale.

Nanette Stahl, Librarian for Judaic Studies, Yale University

The Middle East in 17 Syllables

Rick was a reporter in the Jerusalem bureau of The New York Times for three years. He covered the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada in 1987, the Scud missile attacks in 1991,  other political and cultural issues. But he felt like he had to find a way to understand and relate to the situation outside of the world of journalism. Its narrow parameters forced him into an “off-the-shelf,” ready-made kind of writing.

Editors are not concerned about the olive tree that happened to be blown to smithereens in a suicide bombing. Rather, the facts of the story are what’s important: how many dead, who did it, why, where, etc.

In this talk, Rick discusses the ins and outs of daily reporting in Israel and why he decided to move in the direction of poetry and bookmaking. And, in particular, how he discovered the Japanese poetic form of haiku, which has enabled him to regain a balance and to come to accept life in all its complexity.

He will also discuss how he came to make Peace and War: A Collection of Haiku From Israel and will read from the collection in order to transport you to Israel and give you a sense of the complexities of daily life today.

Audience: Poetry conferences and centers, synagogues and churches, Hillel and Hadassah groups, community centers. Talk: 30 minutes/ Q & A: 15 minutes

As Rick read poems from his book and shared how the writing of his poems ran parallel to his role as a journalist, a kind of hush came over the room and people were moved to spaces that are hard to describe.

Charlene Monahan Spearen, Associate Director, South Carolina Poetry Initiative

Workshops

Telling Our Stories: A Memory to Memoirs Workshop

Everyone has a story to tell, whether you are 94-years-old or 39-years-old. Sometimes, these stories take the form of fiction, other times poetry. We will do a handful of exercises aimed at increasing one’s awareness of past experiences, decide what form is the best for you and then share them with others. You might want to recount your memoirs in the first person, or capture specific memories in the form of a haiku poem.

Audience: Synagogues and churches, nursing homes and elder day-care programs, women’s and men’s groups. Workshop: Limited usually to a maximum of a dozen people. Time: 1 – 2 hours

Rick Black is a splendid teacher – generous, honest and always thoughtful.

Kwame Dawes, Editor-in-Chief, Prairie Schooner

Haiku Workshop For Adults

In this workshop for adults, we try to slow down in order to become more aware of the world around us and savor our experiences. We’ll read a handful of poems by Japanese and American haiku masters, do exercises aimed at increasing our sensitivity to the world around us, and go for a short ginkgo (a walk whose specific purpose is to write haiku). To conclude, participants are invited to share their poems over refreshments.

Audience: Library programs, university classes, nursing homes and elder day-care programs, women’s and men’s groups, community centers. Workshop: Limited usually to a maximum of a dozen people. Time: 1 – 2 hours

I really enjoyed Rick’s expert and compassionate facilitation. He did an outstanding job with the workshop.

Peter Krok, Humanities Director, Manayunk-Roxborough Arts Center

Haiku Workshop For Teens

Same program as for adults except that it is geared to teens.

Audience: High schools, library programs, teen recreation centers. Workshop: Limited usually to a maximum of a dozen people. Time: 1 – 2 hours

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