Robert Bly, 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.
Interview in the Rake Magazine January 2004
The Wind Isn't Depressed:
Robert Bly Talks With Michael Ventura About Art, Madness, And The Joy Of Loss in the Sun Magazine
May 2004- Robert Bly and Michael Ventura
download interview with Robert Bly and Michael Ventura in the Sun Magazine 2004
Haki Madhubuti is a poet, essayist, and editor. His poetry, which began to appear in the 1960s, was written in black dialect and slang and via his influence on the late 60s/early 70s recording group, The Last Poets is a strong predecessor of the 90s music style called Rap. His work is characterized both by anger at social and economic injustice and by rejoicing in African-American culture. His first six volumes of poetry were published in the 1960s. The verse collection Don't Cry, Scream (1969) became widely acclaimed.
An advocate of independent Black institutions, Haki founded the Third World Press in 1967, and he established the Institute of Positive Education in Chicago, a school for black children, in 1969. He is the author of 19 books. Among his poetry collections published are Book of Life (1973), Killing Memory, Seeking Ancestors (1987), and GroundWork: New and Selected Poems from 1966-1996 (1996). He also wrote From Plan to Planet--Life Studies: The Need for Afrikan Minds and Institutions (1973) and an essay collection, Enemies: The Clash of Races (1978). Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous has sold in excess of 750,000 copies.
His latest book Yellow Black: The First Twenty-One Years of a Poet's Life, a Memoir, has incredible insights into the beginnings of a poet's life. Among his honors and awards are an American Book Award (1991) and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is currently a professor of English and Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University.
A master of eloquence and innovative language, Martín Prechtel is a leading thinker, writer and teacher whose work, both written and oral, hopes to promote the subtlety, irony and pre-modern vitality hidden in any living language. His life, the well known subject of his previous books Secrets of the Talking Jaguar and Long Life, Honey in the Heart, took him from his native New Mexico upbringing, as a half-blood Native American, from a Pueblo Indian reservation to the village of Santiago Atitlan where he eventually served the Tzutujil Mayan population as a full village member becoming a principal in the body of village leaders, responsible for instructing the young people in the meanings of their ancient stories that took place in the rituals of adult rights of passage.
Martín once again resides in his native New Mexico. Teaching internationally through story, music, ritual and writing, Martín helps people in many lands to retain their diversity while remembering their own sense of place in the daily sacred through the search for the Indigenous Soul. Broadly cherished, Martín's third book, The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun: Ecstasy and Time, has become a runaway, underground hit. Martíns fourth book, The Toe Bone and the Tooth was enthusiastically received in 2003 and is now out in paperback.
As a gifter singer, musician, and storyteller, retruen to the conference bringing in the luminous mythological. Danny Deardorff carries mysteries into a new place. The place is nourishing, startling and full of intelligence. As author of the book The Other Within:The Genius of Deformity in Myth, Culture, & Psyche, a amazing study of the real and imagined 'other,' Deardorff has given us a valuable roadmap to the profound regions of Story.
Danny Deardorff has been a composer and a performing artist for more than three decades. As an independent scholar of myth Deardorff's emphasis is on mythopoesis [myth-making] and the performative aspects of mythic expression.
"Myth is a story that tells a sacred truth without the use of facts."
Tom Gambell: a 6th degree Black Belt, is a returning teacher this year. He has taught Aikido for 25 years, and is now the Chief Instructor of Eastbay Aikido in Oakland, CA. He teaches that once the principles of Aikido are embodied, they become a source of strength and guidance in everyday living. He will do workshops that will be open to all participants each day on the art of compassionate self-defense.
Doug von Koss 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.
The Conference History
The Minnesota Mens Conference was started by Robert Bly in 1984. This was shortly after the interview between Keith Thompson and Robert Bly called What do Men Really Want? This first conference, as well as all the ones following have included the telling of old stories, the gifts of poetry, making music together and opening our hearts to grief, which sometimes appears when men who trust each other gather together for a few days.
This conference has been blessed with many fine teachers such as Etheridge Knight, James Hillman, Michael Meade, and Terry Dobson in the 1980’s. Aaron Kipnis, John Lee and Robert Moore joined us in the 1990’s. In 1993 with the addition of Malidoma Somé, Miguel Rivera, Haki Madhubuti and Martín Prechtel, the conference moved towards a richer diversity of thought and a deeper connection to our ancestors. In the last few years we have begun to ask that men who have been given the honey of the old stories and soul teaching give some of this sweetness back to younger men. So again we are inviting 30 young men between the ages of 13 and 20 to attend this years conference.
We are asking all the men to reach back toward young men-both the fathered and the fatherlessand to work out rituals and ways of communication in order to offer to the younger men what the culture as whole does not.
This years conference will be held once again
at Camp Miller, a beautiful YMCA camp on
100+ acres of woods, fields and waterfront,
on Sturgeon Lake 100 miles north of the
Twin Cities. The cabins, dining room and
main meeting lodge are a combination of
rustic and modern. The camp staff are superb,
the food is excellent and the sauna is always hot!
1984What Do Men Dance About?
1985Bringing Back the Gold! Men, Failure and Harvest
1986Mens Work in World: Leaving the Fathers House
1987Animal Truths, Imagination and Danger: On the Track of Male Nature
1988Passion and Purpose in the Male Psyche
1989Developing the King: Inside and Outside
1990Men in Community: Men in Ritual
1992Men in Relationships
1993The Hostile Brother
1994The Generous Mothers and the Angry Mothers: Giving Gifts to Both
1995Shimmering Flowers on the Community Tree: Growing Into Our Ancestors Faces
1996The Adolescent Society and the Way Men Are
1997Reaching Back to Younger Men
1998Tracking Our Own Souls: Men in Nature and the Nature of Men
1999Old Grandmother Growth: Men, boys and the Trickster
2000Feasting the Mother Bear
2001Who is the Friend of the Hidden One?
2002What will Heal the Wounded King?
2003The Dragon of Grandiosity
2004The Souls Survival When Things Fall Apart
2005Three Roots, Three Roads, Three Dances
links to past Mn Men's Conferences