Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

July 21, 2013

Terry Wooten: Stone Circle celebrates 30 years

“Fire is an old story.”

— Gary Snyder

Poetry, ritual, dance and drama ... they all have the same roots. For thousands of years, poetry was spoken around fires at night. It was used to entertain people, to teach and inform them.

All our early history (herstory), myth and ethics were transmitted orally in poems or stories. Now most everyday people have lost touch with it.

What I’m trying to do with my art and Stone Circle is bring poetry back home. There is an added power to poetry when it’s spoken rather than read. And the fire and the boulders are important elements.

You can’t sit around a fire and not want to hear stories. We’re wired that way. It’s in our DNA.

Nobody really knows why ancient people built stone circles. But I know why I built mine. It was for folks to gather and listen to poems, songs and stories in a special place, where the words are the focus.

You don’t have to be a great poet to speak at Stone Circle, but you can be. In a circle there is no first or last. It’s like having a work of art in the meadow behind our house, and it comes alive on summer Saturday nights.

This summer, to celebrate our 30th anniversary, a film crew from Barcelona, Spain will show up to shoot a documentary on Stone Circle’s influence and future. The big filming nights will be August 10 and 17. NMC instructor Steve Quick and students will be doing the sound recording.

My wife and I have made many friends the last three decades; both poets and audience members. Stone Circle alumni from around the globe are returning to perform and be interviewed, or just to listen. If you’re interested, please come and join us.

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