26th Annual Minnesota Men’s Conference
Bringing Back The Fire
| Camp Miller, Sturgeon Lake, MN
How can we, as ordinary men, bring some new life to our withering world? Recession and climate change do not affect men’s inner longing for brotherhood and a better life. As we put our stick in the mud of recession and incessant war, how can some old stories and the companionship of men help us to abandon familiar comfort and search for something new?
The old stories remind us that change happens only when we look clearly at what we have done poorly or in haste. Hidden at the heart of this journey, something or someone, whom we cannot see, is willing to guide and to teach us…
Camp Miller, Sturgeon Lake, MN
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Event DescriptionWe will meet once more as we have for many years, breathing in the north woods and watching the young men learn some lessons from the older men and the older men from the younger men. The power of story guides us.
How can we, as ordinary men, bring some new life to our withering world? Recession and climate change do not affect men's inner longing for brotherhood and a better life. As we put our stick in the mud of recession and incessant war, how can some old stories and the companionship of men help us to abandon familiar comfort and search for something new?
The old stories remind us that change happens only when we look clearly at what we have done poorly or in haste. Hidden at the heart of this journey, something or someone, whom we cannot see, is willing to guide and to teach us. When we trust the difficult lessons and gather the vital medicine, the healing will be apparent. Join us at this year's Minnesota Men's Conference, as we dance, sing, and tell tall tales, and blow our breath into the embers of old stories and look for the ground of rebirth in our private lives and our public life.
Gifted teachers will collaborate and celebrate this year. Mythtellers Daniel Deardorff and Martin Shaw will join us togther in a story. Malidoma Somé and Miguel Rivera, with their deep feeling for the indigenous world of nature and ritual, will help us stay connected to these primary sources of the masculine heart. Tom Gambell, with his compassionate, open-hearted Aikido, and Doug Von Koss, with his love song arrows, will engage us in two ancient expressions: the power of movement and the power of song. Timothy Young, Thomas R. Smith, and Jay Leeming will lead us through the forest of words to find our own poems of depth and praise. Robert Bly will be with us reading new poems & old poems, and creating mischief as usual.
internationally recognized and award-winning author and poet, helped found the modern men's movement. He has taught men how to create a home for what is best in them. He inspires both men and women to lead a life of intensity and beauty that brings them together into community. Robert is a veteran of the WW2 era.
READ MORE: The Wind Isn't Depressed: Robert Bly Talks With Michael Ventura About Art, Madness, And The Joy Of Loss in the Sun Magazine: (Download PDF Article)
a musician and drummer, is a man who is in love with the language of sound. A regular teacher at this conference since 1993 it is always an honor to have Miguel teach drumming, read poetry, and in leading rituals and reaching out to new particpants. We are priviledged to have his guidance for our journey together during this conference
village elder, author, comes to us from the Dagara Tribe of West Africa. He an astonishing teacher, able to bring in ideas almost unheard of in the West. His first book was Of Water and The Spirit, and his latest book is The Healing Wisdom of Africa. Malidoma, as a representative of his village in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and an initiated elder, has come to the west to share the ancient wisdom and practices which have supported his people for thousands of years. African wisdom, so long held secret, is being called on to provide tools to enable us to move into a more peaceful and empowered way of being, both within ourselves, and within our communities.
will be teaching from his brand new book 'A Branch From The Lightning Tree: Ecstatic Myth and the Grace in Wildness'. In it he is claiming we are societally addicted to the act of severance and have replaced Longing with Disappointment. This, in turn, creates a defense against our own beauty. For a step towards authentic leadership in men he is suggesting the ancient idea of a 'Road of Solitude and Road of Voice'; a cherising of silence, wilderness and interior listening met with the ability to articulate clearly and passionately the desires of our own lives. With a cluster of Initiatory myths, deft commentary and time on the land, Shaw proposes a 'Culture of Wildness' is possible, indeed vital, for a restoration of soul in men's lives.
As a gifted singer, musician, and storyteller, he brings the luminous mythological to the conference. Danny Deardorff carries mysteries into a new place. "Myth is a story that tells a sacred truth without the use of facts."
Tom walks the warrior path as a practitioner of compassionate self-defense. He is the Founder and Chief Instructor of East Bay Aikido in Oakland, CA. Having taught for more than 35 years, Tom is an insightful guide who, with humor and beauty, assists people in tapping into the power inherent in their own centeredness and presence. His classes emphasize bringing the metaphors of a martial practice into our daily lives as a source of strength and guidance. He is a 6th Degree Black Belt and a veteran of the Vietnam era.
poet & editor, says of his teaching: "Like many teachers, I teach what I myself would like to learn. Fear causes us to close and shield our hearts. Poetry can be a powerful counterforce to fear, but there is no formula for making it so. Together we explore the way, poem by poem." His books of poetry include: Waking Before Dawn, Winter Hours, The Dark Indigo Current: Poems, Horse of Earth, and he edited the book Walking Swiftly: Writings & Images on the Occasion of Robert Bly's 65th Birthday. Thomas R. Smith is a Master Track instructor at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
poet and teacher, taught at-risk youth in Minnesota before starting The Two Boots Poetry Tour, The Holtby House Concert Series, and Feeding The Story -- ventures which provide live music, poetry and stories in various communities, libraries, and schools. He has been with the Minnesota Men’s Conference in many capacities since its beginning. In 2003 The Thousands Press and the Minnesota Men’s Conference published his book, Building in Deeper Water. In 2010 Red Dragonfly Press published his latest book of poems, Herds of Bears Surround Us.
is the author of Dynamite on a China Plate, a book of poems published by The Backwaters Press. His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines including Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry East and Black Warrior Review. He has been a featured reader at Butler University, the Omega Institute, Robert Bly’s Great Mother Conference and the Woodstock Poetry Festival, and is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives and teaches in Ithaca, New York.
Doug joyously returns again this year to lead early morning chanting. Many participants return to this conference just to begin each day in “one voice” under his guidance. He teaches the vowel sounds as well as chants from the Near East and the West. He has published two CD's and a songbook, and travels widely to bring the magic of voice to communities worldwide. Join for a special tour of Bali each year! Greet the sunrise with him each day in a whirling circle of song! Doug was a veteran of the Korean Conflict era.