The University of Minnesota Librarires maintain the Robert Bly archives, and they sponsored a special conference called Robert Bly In This World in 2009. One of the presenters, the poet Thomas R. Smith, wrote an very insightful essay that has recently been published within the book that came out of those proceedings. The essay is entitled “Praising the Soul in Women and Men: Robert Bly and the Men’s Movement.” Thomas R. Smith has also released a short excerpt from that book chapter which can be downloaded and previewed. Its called ” THE BIRTH OF THE MYTHOPOETIC MEN’S MOVEMENT“
I remember what my life was like before I first attended the Minnesota Men’s Conference. I was pretty dependent and was rather insecure. After I went to the Minnesota Men’s Conference, I was a different person. With the guidance of the teachers that were present at the conference and some of the other great men that were attending the conference that year, I began a journey of change.Here I am, nearly a year after the conference and the progress that I have made is astonishing to me. I am fourteen and have two jobs and feel way more independant. I feel so much more comfortable with putting my self out there in the world and much of this is due to the guidance and extraordinary experience at this conference. If you are in your early teens and feel somehow lost or are not quite sure how you want to grow into a man, this conference is the place for you. It will not solve all of your problems or answer all of your questions, but it will provide you with a “toolbox” to allow you to explore your manhood.
—Bucky H, age 13, who attended in 2010 with his father Sage
17 years now after warily going to my first Men’s Conference at camp Miller, I have enduring gratitude at the difference it has made in my life. It didn’t “fix” me or “solve” my problems. It was simply an amazing glimpse into authentic beauty in the community of men, which has encouraged and strengthened my life ever since. I am especially grateful that my son got to experience that last year. It was the most positive and enduring transformation I’ve seen in him, at a time when he needed something good the most- something I could not give him by myself.
— T. Sage Harmos, Colorado
Have you ever arrived somewhere for the first time by yourself and feel immediately like you are in a group of friends? The Minnesota Men’s Conference is this type of place. When I say friends, I don’t mean people being overly friendly, trying to be nice. Here everyone is just being themselves and giving everyone else the freedom to do the same. Through-out the week it was such a relief that here are no concerned “mother-types” asking you what’s wrong if you don’t feel like talking or are feeling some sadness of a past event or just plain frozen – I felt the freedom to just feel whatever it was I was feeling. In fact if anyone wants to spend the day or even entire time there and not talk to one single person there is freedom to do that as well. Or if you want to share your experiences, there will be plenty of people to do that with as well. There are no obligations. Continue reading
At my first conference, I was relieved at how at home I felt amongst these guys of all shapes, personalities. Everybody was fully there and having a great time. Martin Prechtel, Robert Bly, John Lee, Miguel Rivera, and Doug von Koss, five unforgettable, funny, brilliant men, were the conference teachers. Continue reading