Ken Browne exquisitely captures the joy and the lasting bonds that emerge when people who love writing come together to share their work and help each other grow. Not only is the documentary a tribute to Jean Pedrick, the founder of this long-lived workshop, but it is a tribute to the writing process itself and to deep friendships that form when people come together to share their work and support each other “Mondays at Skimmilk” is a beautiful documentary, a joy to watch. – Patricia Fargnoli, New Hampshire Poet Laureate
“a fitting tribute.” – The Boston Globe
Mondays at Skimmilk screening in Portsmouth, New Hampshire featured on the on-line National Poetry Map by the Academy of American Poets. See www.poets.org.
Narrated by Laura Knoy – National and New Hampshire Public Radio personality (host of “The Exchange” on New Hampshire Public Radio)
Skimmilk Farm, an abandoned colonial-era dairy farm in Southern New Hampshire became the summer home of the late Boston/New Hampshire poet Jean Pedrick Kefferstan (1923-2006) and her family in the 1950s. In time it also became a Monday morning mecca for poets and writers for over 30 summers. Mondays at Skimmilk: 30 Years of Writers at Work is the new half-hour documentary that tells the story of the Skimmilk Farm Writers Workshop, and the circle of support and friendship it has provided for New England writers since 1974. The production, directed by New York/New Hampshire filmmaker Ken Browne, will be presented by New Hampshire Public Television, premiering on Monday, April 2, 2007, at 8 P.M. and will be repeated throughout April – National Poetry Month. It will also be available to teachers through the NHPTV Knowledge Network.
Nancy Mairs, Jean Pedrick’s niece, also got her start as a writer during summers spent at the farm. She has gone on to become one of America’s best known essayists.
The workshop has been featured in several newspaper and magazine articles. The writers who attend Skimmilk are all published authors, who teach and participate in local and regional events and readings.
“Profiles of individual poets and writers, often of tragic nature, have been done,” says filmmaker Ken Browne, “but a documentary portrait of a group of joyful, sane writers supporting each other over many years, seemed a great opportunity – luckily, the choice of the Skimmilk Farm workshop provided more wit, wisdom, and insight into the craft of writing than I could have imagined.” New Hampshire arts and cultural legacy has been a focus in the films of Ken Browne, whose previous PBS credits include the acclaimed documentary Four Hands One Heart: Ed and Mary Scheier – the story of New Hampshire’s and America’s first couple of studio pottery. He is currently at work on A League of Our Own: New Hampshire and the American Crafts Movement, an hour long documentary history of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, to be released in May, 2007.
Through actual workshop clips, woven together with interviews by the participants at Skimmilk Farm, viewers will get to see and hear first hand, the dedication and peer-support that has kept this group of writers together for three decades. Like the workshop itself, the film concludes with a post-workshop lunch that is colorful and varied.
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