Forms of Transport + April Workshop Line-up

As bitter winds whip around our snowbound house, I’m truly desperate for a gentler climate where my body might relax after so many months of shivering. It’s not going to happen this year. Instead, I’ll read. As Emily Dickinson said, invoking a book’s power to transport a reader: “How frugal is the Chariot / That bears a Human soul.”

As we move toward the Vernal Equinox, I’ll keep daffodils on my table, eat the last of the good Cara Cara oranges, and visit the indoor botanical garden at Smith College. There, the camellias and tulips and orange blossoms are blooming this week, and the balmy palm room creates an illusion of a tropical island grove. My favorite room is the one with aromatic plants and  I especially enjoy how everyone moans a little when they lean down to smell the peppermint and thyme and rosemary and rose geranium! I do, too.

While winter feels like a time for deep and sustained thinking and internal gestation, spring brings a more outward and energetic expression of my urge to create. If you’re feeling this, too, here are some upcoming opportunities to be aware of:
April Workshops With Me
The Spring edition of my year-round Poetry Immersion program begins in three weeks. This online course is already half-full, so if you’re craving structure and accountability around your writing practice, want to improve your craft, and would benefit from conversations about your work in progress, consider joining me from April 7- May 5. Our theme this session is Generative Development. Includes eight weeks of instruction, feedback, and two private tutorials. $325
Easthampton, Massachusetts
Letterpress Poetry Workshop (April 8) A 4 hour hands-on workshop in which we will create an edition of one sheet fold up books using hand set and cast type. Participants will each go home with part of the edition. Taught in collaboration with Bill Muller of Big Wheel Press & Lisa Hersey of Antler Editions. All levels. Limited space. $65
Northern Michigan
The Art of Observation: Notebooking for Poets (April 20). In this practical three-hour evening workshop, we’ll explore the art of observation, free-writing, and creative rewriting, as we strengthen a timeless practice that should feel spontaneous, flexible, and disciplined. Participants will leave the session with inspiration and ideas for how to make better use of a writers notebook, and one or two beginnings for new poems. This is an all-level workshop. $85
Poetry Writing Intensive: Working in a Series (April 21-23) It this two day, generative workshop we’ll study examples of multi-part poems that employ interesting writing strategies and forms, and then we’ll begin writing a series of our own. This course is most suitable for those who’ve been writing for a while, though I welcome anyone with genuine interest. $195

Letterpress note from Myrna Keliher of Expedition Press

In advance of actual spring, here are some poems to help you endure what remains of winter, and to soothe the ache of our current political situation. For best effect, click through to read the full text of each one.


Thank you the sheer dress you wore kneeling in my dream
at the creek’s edge and the light
swimming through it. The koi kissing
halos into the glassy air.
The room in my mind with the blinds drawn
where we nearly injure each other
crawling into the shawl of the other’s body.
Her shine, I should say, could take me anywhere
It feels right to be up this close in tight wind
It feels right to notice all the shiny things about you
(from “Lines Depicting a Simple Happiness,” by Peter Gizzi)
To be blessed
said the old woman
is to live and work
so hard
God’s love
washes right through you
like milk through a cow
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay
( . . .)
(Read the full text and listen to Lucille Clifton read this poem over at the Poetry Foundation.)