A Practice in Being Your Whole Self and Listening

I’ve learned so much in the last five years of hosting the 21 Day Day Poetry Challenge about how to coax and provoke and draw-out those who want to write more poems, and I’ve been paying attention to what you struggle with and need and secretly hope for so I can help you make the space, find your words, and experience sweet satisfaction in the process.

Here’s what I’m planning for the upcoming round of the 21 Day Poetry Challenge.  We begin December 1 (just two weeks from now):

You will still get a cozy email from me early each morning, with thoughts on creative process, a sample poem, and clear pathways to help you begin a fresh fragment, passage, or draft of a new poem. Also:

Live Video Workshops so that we can write together and commune in a warm and convenient place (ie. from the comfort of our homes).

Great poems. I take great care in selecting our readings and will include you in my ongoing effort to get to know more POC and queer voices. I love to find poems that provide clear paths to our own creative writing.

Live Q & A: a chance to ask questions and connect in an informal setting, via video.

Options: whether you want to “make space for a little poetry every day,” or “write a passage or fragment most days, but not always” or go all in, and “write something every single day until Winter arrives,” I am prepared to accommodate you. You will grow as a poet NO MATTER WHAT and also learn to resist those feelings of guilt or disappointment when you need to find your own pace with the material.

Peeks at my personal practice: it turns out that some of the September participants enjoyed knowing more about this side of things. I’ll continue to be candid and let you in on me being me.

Self-care for writers. We all need it. We really do. I’m not keeping these ideas to myself anymore because I can’t stand to watch you suffer as you do! To that end, expect me to bring in some thoughts on how to take care of your body and love yourself, while you do challenging things.

Coaching. I will still remind you that it’s not about getting famous or making money. We are making lives that include art, reverence, quiet, spaciousness, and inward attention. And I will still share my best suggestions for overcoming stuckness and creative inaction.

Feedback. You can still send up to three poems (or arrange to send more with me directly), and learn what I or my teaching assistant see, feel, and notice when we read your work.

Attunement to the Shift. I will still be there to guide you over the threshold into winter. It usually feels quietly momentous and special, as the Solstice should.

One of my teachers, Jennifer Armbrust, proposes that we give up “wrenching, forcing, pushing, efforting” because “we are finding our center, not our edge.” Consider that for a minute.

Now, how would you feel if your writing happened in a more humane atmosphere? One that bucks the traditional models of education where producing to institutional expectations and cramming is the norm?

What if our writing became a practice in being your whole self, and listening deeply, and being awake to the world, and feeling all the feels, but not getting overwhelmed with indecision and discouragement!?

These are some of the thoughts that shape my approach to this course.

Registration closes on November 30. Join me here.

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