Thresholds and Provocations: How to End the Year

I know teachers who teach the same poems, and use the same assignments, year after year. I’ve learned from these teachers, and occasionally envied their enduring commitment to a few, carefully chosen texts, in which they are deeply fluent.

And yet I also resist this way of working myself, mainly because I am happiest and most energized when I teach to my own interests, which continue to evolve as I uncover and pursue new areas of inquiry in my personal creative work.

Furthermore, in order to balance the years of reading so many more male writers, than female, much less poets of color—the outcome of having mainly white male teachers during my formative years—I am actively trying to give myself a broader education, and this translates into what I want to teach, which continues to place me in the position of writing new curricula.

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For the last ten years I’ve shared what I’ve found during these reading excursions through my workshops, but especially my online 21 Day Poetry Challenge, which provides four opportunities each year for me to share my current enthusiasms, edges and questions. If I’m learning and writing alongside my students, I believe they will perceive my presence in a helpful way, as together we birth new work within a concentrated period of time.

Time again, writers tell that they feel so much more focused and engaged than when they write on their own, because the frisson of our collective effort empowers all of us, no matter how far apart we may live geographically. (more…)

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Poetry as Integrative Medicine

Because we have scattered and poetry helps us gather pieces into wholes. Because the right words, in the right order, heal. Because a word after a word after a word is power. (Margaret Atwood)

Because for millennia our peoples have sung, chanted and told stories to make meaning, mend, grow stronger, prevail.

 

This ongoing workshop series is for writers and aspiring writers, as well as healers, caregivers, teachers, spiritual leaders and anyone else wanting to integrate poetry into their personal or professional practice.

 

Each session includes the presentation of a poem (s) by a featured poet, followed by an appreciation and discussion of the text, and opportunity to generate your own language using a writing provocation. We’ll converse about the process, but offer no formal critique. Our intention is to illuminate the healing properties of poetry, and help you make your own poetic medicine.

 

 

Location: Thrive! Integrative Wellness

44 Maple Street, Florence

(Next to Cycle Pottery. Look for the red doors.)

 

Fall 2017 Schedule:

We’ll meet on Mondays, from 5-6pm.

October 30: The Poetic Medicine of Nayyirah Waheed

November 6: The Poetic Medicine of Warsan Shire

 November 13: The Poetic Medicine of Ocean Vuong 

November 20: The Poetic Medicine of Javier Zamora

 

Tea and handouts of all readings will be provided. Please bring a notebook and writing utensil. No previous experience required. All are welcome.

$120* for all four classes

$30* per class

 

Registration is not required, but much appreciated as it allows us to plan well. If you would like to sign up for this series, please enroll via this link.

 

We also offer a sliding scale for those of limited means*: $10-30 per class. No one turned away.

*What does “Limited Means” mean?

We offer a sliding scale payment option for those of low or fixed income. If you are able to pay the full fee, it goes as a long way to helping support the space, my teaching, and the other staff who make this workshop series possible. It is also a way of making sure this sort of gathering can continue to exist in this community. Running this series in this way is an experiment; if it proves sustainable, we will continue to offer this option in the future. Your integrity is appreciated.

 

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Some Short Poems That I Have Loved

I want to share some of the short poems that have inspired me, and helped me think about what can be accomplished in just a few lines of well-chosen text. For example, here’s an untitled modern haiku by Michael Ketchek:

I whisper to my sleeping son
watching the news—
I’m sorry

 
And here’s one from my college poetry professor, Ken Mikolowski:

Why I Am Not A New York Poet

Detroit

I also really love this one, from Yoko Ono’s book Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings.

I’ve read and loved these little gems for years and continue to learn about how small things can open into such big spaces. This personal study has certainly influenced the direction of my writing in fairly radical ways, and if you’re trying to figure out how to say more with less, or if you’re pondering the role of silence in poem; if you’re interested in suggestion as much as what’s made explicit, I encourage you to spend more time with short poems. Here’s one by Jim Moore that has been on my mind this year:

These examples are just a fraction of what we’ll read and talk about during my upcoming Poetry Intensive on Short Poems at Interlochen College of Creative Arts, October 16-17. You can participate in this generative workshop for adults as a commuter, or make it into a retreat and stay on campus, where you can focus on your writing during one of the most beautiful times of year in northern Michigan.

Here’s a two line poem from a recent limited edition chapbook by Jeffrey Schwaner, printed and bound by St. Brigit’s Press:

If this is something that interests you, I’d encourage you to register as soon as possible—it really helps me to plan my travel confidently.

Last year this course filled up and the evaluations focused on how inspiring it was to learn how to write with such brevity. Many also remarked on how the diverse readings opened them to possibilities in their own work not previously considered.

For my part, I really loved sharing my personal anthology of poems of fourteen lines or less, and as a collective, exploring strategies for writing in this mode. We also talked about finding “the poem inside the poem”, which is a great way to rescue a sprawling or failed poem, and making it into something small and beautiful.

Poetry Writing Intensive: Short Poems
October 16-17, 2017
Interlochen, Michigan

In addition to craft lectures, generative exercises, structured writing time, and supportive feedback, you’ll have access to evening concerts, art galleries, an exceptional library, and the conviviality of other writers. Please join us!

My Best,

Holly

I found this last poem in a hand-set letterpress chapbook by Anne Waldman entitled Countries, in the collection of the Bonisteel Library on the Interlochen campus.

P.S. Did you know that K-12 Educators can earn 7 State of Michigan SCECH clock hours by attending this workshop? Tell your friends!

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The Dignity of Rhythm

As the season shifts—light, temperature, the contours of the days—I notice that I want and need to reconnect with habits and rituals that lend a sense of rhythm and continuity to daily life.

Deadheading perennials, cooking heartier meals, seeking fire, and spending more time in quiet study, all signal my own shift away from the lighter, brighter and more extroverted days of summer.

A threshold is upon us, on the other side of which is the season that so naturally lends itself to slower, deeper, more sustained creative work.

Maybe it’s because I was born on the Autumn Equinox, a time of equal light and dark, but I’ve always felt a visceral sense that these thresholds are significant. That if I pay attention to the natural world and my body’s inclinations, I will learn necessary things about myself, and the other-than-human world, about a cycle of life and death which exceeds anything I can devise or control.

In other words, I’m learning how to live, and I choose the moon and oceans and migrating birds as my mentors. I choose the rose making her hips. I choose the longer night, and the desire to sleep longer.

And still I write, and teach, and do my work, but with heightened awareness of my place in a larger rhythm that exceeds even the machinations of politics and history.

Fire poem by Robert Montgomery

Five  years ago, when I started working for myself, independent of a anyone else’s calendar, I began consciously aligning my teaching and personal work flow, with sensitivity toward the natural rhythms of the wheel of the year. More recently, I’ve studied how other cultures relate to time, seasons and the flow of a day, and I’m inspired to make these influences more apparent to my students and clients, who might also find it helpful.

Rhythms—patterns, rituals, creative habits—all help me to gather my pieces into shapely forms. There’s dignity in this. And a form of support that I need so that I can do what I’m here to do as an artist and a human being.

Rhythms also provide integrity when we feel fragmented or out of balance due to external events, especially those we have little ability to change or influence, though we feel them, and want to respond in some way.

What we can do is what we are here to do—our work—and we must anchor ourselves in a strong belief that what we each have an essential place within this ecosystem that includes all sorts of people, and talents and ways of being.

We can create work based on the conviction that our contributions do serve the greater whole, even when we work quietly, or on a small scale.

A poem from Lost Lexicon, a letterpress collaboration with Big Wheel Press.

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An unshakable commitment to showing up to work in all its forms, can change one’s life in all of the ways one may want to change that life, from making it more beautiful, to providing more purpose, to provoking everyday revolutions in how one engages with one’s surroundings.

The rhythm of regular practice trains the body/mind to perform without undo effort or suffering. In this way, we evolve. In this way, we live in accordance with our deepest values and intentions.

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The Shaker’s have a saying that has served as a sort of guiding mantra for me: Every force evolves a form.

Our energy and attention shapes outcomes. For example, a writer who commits to nourishing her love of poetry by reading a single poem every day, first thing, will soon find that her own writing is changed for the better because of this ritual and discipline.

All day long, we have opportunities to give form to our energies and desires. Every force evolves a form.

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Do you notice how the weather, seasons, moon cycles and natural rhythms affect you and your creative work? It might be insightful to make a practice of taking note. What feels natural? What feels good? What doesn’t?

Our intensely masculine economy would have us work hard and consistently, all year long, according to a regime defined by clocks and calendars, grids and linear timelines, with peak production as our primary goal.

But poetry exists outside of commodity capitalism. We are doing something else here, and so we have to act accordingly.

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As for me, the natural rhythms of summer lead me into the world. I balanced my otherwise monastic tendencies with more time in nature, among friends and family, and with travel, most recently to the Beargrass Writers Retreat where the mountains reconnected me with my long love of the west. (Stay tuned for how we could meet in that landscape next summer to shape your manuscript or retreat with other writers).

Reading new work at Beargrass Writing Retreat, Greenough, Montana.

After birthing a new book last spring, a residency in Leland, Michigan, and the exciting opportunity to showing new collaborative work in progress, I allowed myself some time to play and connect with others, which tempered the sadness and despair that had gripped me during the months following the election. Now I’m fortified, and I’ve also renewed my conviction that artists and art is just as necessary as ever as we come to grips with the creep of white supremacy, totalitarian ideologies, and a planet convulsing from climate destabilization.

Whereas summer was much more about saturating myself in actual life, taking notes in the field, attending performances, absorbing work by other artists, now I sense that new poems now want to be written, and I’m ready again to spend time indoors at my desk. I also feel a gathering of energy toward a bigger project that I haven’t touched in a couple of months. This is such a good feeling, and one I trust will emerge at this time of year, just as the apples ripen in the orchard.

I also understand that, as author Katey Schultz puts it, rest supports revelation. Time away means that upon my return, I feel  ready for what lies ahead. This week I’m on a personal writing retreat in Maine, but the next few months hold many opportunities to meet up, and work together.

Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire, where I taught a poetry workshop in July.

 

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If you desire companionship and some rhythm to your writing life, here’s my fall line-up:

Small Pages: a half-day guided writing and collage retreat
w/artist Carol C Spaulding, in her studio
September 16, 2017
10:00 am-3:00 pm
Glen Lake, Michigan
Space for 8

Poetry Immersion: Deeper Practice
October 6-November 24, 2017
Online writing apprenticeship for poets and aspiring poets
Space for 12

Poetry Writing Intensive: Short Poems
October 16-17, 2017
A generative workshop on the art of brevity & alchemy of suggestion.
Interlochen, Michigan
Space for 12

Poetry Forge: An incubator for writers and their work
October 25-December 13, 2017
Florence, MA
*Full details to follow. Please get in touch if this interests you as I am hoping to gather eight poets for this six week focus on new writing.

Diane Di Prima, from “Revolutionary Letter #75: Rant”

I’m also interested in giving artist talks on “Resisting the War Against the Imagination,” and sharing my newest publication, If August, which is an extended poem in fragments that takes into account the design of the book as a vehicle for an intimate reading experience. Get in touch if you have a space that would lend itself to gathering interested readers and writers who might enjoy spending time with me in this way.

Thanks for reading. I send you best wishes for your own work this season.

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Small Pages: A Guided Writing and Collage Workshop

For the third year, my mom, the artist Carol C. Spaulding, and I will offer SMALL PAGES, a half-day retreat for those who enjoy working in a studio together, and being guided through a contemplative process involving collage and creative writing.

Our project this time is an accordion book. We’ll also begin making a deck of AXIOM CARDS for use in our creative practice at home.

We continue to find inspiration in:

  • spontaneity and improvisation
  • making with our own hands
  • playing with words and images
  • the work of artists, writers and others who approach art making as a form of spiritual or engaged social practice

 

 

This session presents all new material, so even if you’ve done SMALL PAGES with us before, you’ll get to try new things.

 

September 16, 2017

10:00 am-3:00 pm

 

$175 (includes all materials)

 

Enroll here.

 

What to bring: lunch, water bottle, notebook, writing implement, and any books and materials that are personally significant to you right now.

 

Location: Carol’s studio, 3534 W. Lanham Rd., Maple City, MI 49664

 

Join us for art, conversation, birdsong, late season flowers, lake views, and quiet, and the chance to make something beautiful with your own hands and imagination.

 

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Poetry + Empathy + 21 Days of Writing in September

Like many of you, I am looking for meaningful ways to respond to what I see and feel and know. To become a better listener. To self-examine and evolve into a more conscious and compassionate human. With my words and deeds, to affect some small corner of the world for the better.

I try to lend my voice and imagination, hands and heart, to the ongoing project of human understanding, by taking care with the resources I share in my courses, in order to bring forth voices and experiences that have been historically marginalized—even erased from the record.

During the upcoming September 21 Day Poetry Challenge, which begins in two weeks, we’ll read primarily people of color, queer poets, and women. Our reading list includes selections from:

Layli Long Soldier
Juan Felipe Herrera
Kim Dower
Denise Levertov
Craig Santos Perez
Nikki Giovanni
Danez Smith
Nathalie Handal
Dorianne Laux
David Hernandez
Kaia Sand
Jillian Weise
& others

Literature fosters empathy. Through reading, we can better understand the lives of others, and the plurality that is our humanity. Writing deepens that connection, involving us in a process that brings us into repeated contact with the moral imagination.

In this online course, we’ll use daily poems and provocations to generate a body of new work, but more importantly, we will practice every day, so that our imaginations, our bodies, and our hearts will carry us into the new season, in which more must be possible. Something more beautiful and tender than before.

September 21 Day Poetry Challenge
Sept.1-21, 2017

Three weeks of daily readings, writing provocations, practical guidance, plus optional feedback on up to three new poems at the end.

$135

Enroll in this online course right here, and participate from anywhere in the world. All you need is daily access to email.

If you join me next month, I’ll embolden the voices and impulses that exist within you, wanting space, time, and your attention. By the Autumn Equinox, you’ll have written far more than you would have otherwise, and you’ll have enjoyed doing so. If it’s your first time considering this experience, you can read the full course description on my website.

 

If you wish to participate in this writing experience, and need to pay by check, just get in touch and I will send you an invoice and mailing address.

 

New this season: If you would like to license this curriculum for your classroom, please get in touch. I am happy to work with high school, college, and independent workshops and writing groups that want to participate in this generative experience. (The seeds of this program were sown when I began teaching college creative writing and needed a curriculum, and this one will get your students writing and reading and thinking. Promise.)

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August + Seven Reasons + Lake Poem


Happy almost August. Season of sun, mirages, lions, and the color yellow. I love this month (and even wrote a book with it’s name in the title), and what I love is the way August insists that we pay attention to what’s happening outside, in the natural, actual, living world. For me, this means swimming and picnics and using my porch as my office and sun on my skin, and the particular pleasure of air-dried sheets, and taking a family vacation to Michigan before it’s all over.

It also means poetry.

Even when I’m at my desk a lot less, and even when my mind has turned slow and sultry, and stopped being so aware of my deadlines and ambitions, I have poetry in me, and I want to write it and read it and hear it recited.

August still means making space for these things.

If you’re not sure where poetry fits into your August plans, here are some reasons I’ll be taking a little time each day from August 5-11, to create a space for those who realize that a perfect summer day can include swimming as well as time with a notebook and a few really good poems. Fact: You can mow the lawn and slow-read a poem by Ross Gay (and feel better about the whole situation because of it). You can devote yourself to your garden, and write about what you find there. You can be the one left at work while everyone else goes to the beach, and take back part of your day by reading poems in secret. (Rebel daily, I say.)

7 Reasons  . . . 

 

1.
every man / every woman carries a firmament inside
& the stars in it are not the stars in the sky

w/out imagination there is no memory
w/out imagination there is no sensation
w/out imagination there is no will, desire
(Diane Di Prima, “Rant”)

2.
We can let it be easy. There are ways to make writing easier than you may think that it is.

3.
A word after a word
after a word is power.
(Margaret Atwood)

4.
A lake a pond an ocean a stream
is better
after you’ve swum
in a poem:

As praiseworthy

The power of breathing (Epictetus)
while we sleep. Add:
to move the parts of the body
without sound

and to float
on a smooth green stream
in a silent boat
(Lorine Niedecker)

5.
Writing is magic.
It is medicine.

6.
A poem is a free space.
An autonomous zone.
There is no president there.
It is a wilderness if we want it.

7.
More than once.
More than seven times
poetry has saved my life.

If you need to save even one small part of yourself, there is a poem, or a line or a poet that can do that for you. But you have to enter the arena. You have to take up the pen.

Enroll now.

We begin Friday morning. This is an experiential, independent study for which you will be provided daily provocations, very brief readings, and existential support. You do not have to have previous experience. All I ask is that you are curious, hungry, ready to see what will happen.

 

Seven: New Writing Regimen
August 5-11, 2017
$75 per person
(why not bring a friend?)

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LOST LEXICON: Letterpress + Poetry Exhibit

LOST LEXICON, my latest work in progress, was on display in the gallery at The Old Art Building from June 23-28, 2017.  This work came about as a result of my being named the 2017 Ann Hall Artist in Residence at the Leelanau Community Cultural Center, which among other things, provided a beautiful, soulful old space with gorgeous light in which to show a body of work. I’m the first poet to ever receive this assignment, and the first to show in the gallery there. I’d had a project in mind for a while, for which I needed a large, well-lit space, and the LOST LEXICON began to take shape once I had the space to imagine it into being.
Here are some glimpses of how it came together.
Interlochen Public Radio did a very nice, 5 minute story about the project: Poet Rescues Nature Words from Dictionary’s Trash Heap.
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Collectors can acquire the full set of twenty poems in a limited edition portfolio, of which there are just two left from an edition of 12. The deluxe edition, of which there is only one, is presented in a silk hardcover portfolio designed and created by Lisa Hersey of Antler Editions. Contact me for more information if you would like to purchase one of these special portfolios.
LOST LEXICON is a conceptual project, but it’s anchored in the concrete work of casting lead type, setting it by hand, and printing poems on presses that date to the early 20th century.
It’s also a conversation piece, and I want to keep sharing this with my friends and fellow humans.
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LOST LEXICON is an occasion for me to work with language associated with the natural world at a time when it’s leaving our formal and daily lexicon in order to make room for more technology based words. So far I’ve written 32 of what will eventually be a 60 or so word set. Twenty of those poems were printed in collaboration with William Muller of Big Wheel Press, who brought his design and printing expertise to this project. The recent exhibit at The Old Art Building in Leland, Michigan was made possible by generous support from the Ann Hall Artist in Residence Program there.
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Summer 2017 Workshops With Holly Wren Spaulding

Over the next three months, I’m looking forward to teaching several in-person workshops, sharing new work in progress (in a gallery this time!), and talking about poetry as an act of conservation. Here’s the summer teaching schedule so far.

In my next post, I’ll share some plans to celebrate the release of my new book, If August, with readings and signings during the summer and fall.

June-July-August 2017

Workshop: Incubate Your Creative Life
Interlochen College of Creative Arts
Interlochen, MI
June 19-21


Are you struggling with where your creative work fits within your current lifestyle? This workshop is designed to provide heat and promote creative development through a three-day process of incubation. P
ractical, inspirational, and focused. Details and register here.

Reception for Lost Lexicon
The Old Art Building
Leland, MI
June 23, 5-8 pm

Public opening for my latest work in progress, Lost Lexicon, a series of poems presented as letterpress broadsides, and created in conjunction with my role as the 2017 Ann Hall Artist in Residence at the Leelanau Community Cultural Center. Details here.

Copies of my new poetry book, If August (Alice Greene & Co., May 2017) will be available.

 

Artist Talk: “Poetry as an Act of Conservation”
The Old Art Building
Leland, MI
June 25, 1:30-3 pm

I’ll talk about my work in progress, Lost Lexicon, the process of casting the type, and printing the poems in a letterpress studio. I’ll also discuss poetry’s ability to recuperate languages and ideas that are at risk of being lost. Details here.

Copies of my new poetry book, If August (Alice Greene & Co., May 2017) will be available, as will limited edition letterpress broadsides.

 

Poetry Workshop: Writing a Series
The Old Art Building
Leland, MI
June 26-28, 10 am-12:30 pm

A generative workshop for poets interested in exploring the poetic series or sequence as an alternative to the single, monumental poem. We’ll study some examples, write to prompts, workshop a draft or two, and explore a simple six-page book form as a way to think outside the usual boundaries of a poem. Details and register here.



Writing Workshop: Notebooking in Nature
Leland Township Public Library
Leland, MI
June 30, 2-4 pm

A two hour generative workshop in which we will read and discuss work by contemporary masters, spend time outdoors, practice the art of observation, and use our writer’s notebook to write in response to our natural world. Sponsored by the library, so there’s no cost. Details here.

 

Poetry Workshop: Evocative Nature: Writing in Response to Wildness
Glen Arbor Art Association
Glen Arbor, MI
August 14, 10 am-3 pm

A day-long poetry writing workshop in which we’ll consider the natural world and our place within it by using creative exercises to tune our awareness to the parklands that surround our studio, learning from the likes of Corman, Niedecker, Hirschfield and Basho, and writing poems of our own. Register here.

And just in case you need a reason to go to New Hampshire or Montana this summer 

International Affairs Family Conference: The World’s Oceans
Star Island, Isle of Shoals, New Hampshire
July 22-29, 2017

I’ll be offering a writing workshop and performing with the pianist Susan Hotchkiss on this beautiful island off the coast of Portsmouth, NH. This year’s retreat theme is “The World Oceans: Protecting an International Resource”. In addition, my husband, author of In Pursuit of Giants: One Man’s Global Search for the Last of the Great Fish, just released in paperback from University Press of New England, will present a keynote about the magic and beauty of the ocean, and how to turn love of that environment into meaningful advocacy for its preservation. Details and register here.

 

Beargrass Writers Retreat
Greenough, Montana
August 26-29, 2017

I’ll be among a vibrant group of writers who will present craft talks, read from new work, and offer manuscript consultations at the storied E Bar L Ranch outside Missoula. Food, drink, music, horses, fishing, writing, rivers, and big skies. It’s going to be fun.

Join us. Details here.

 

I always appreciate your early registration for these events, which helps me to plan travel and other logistics with greater confidence.

 

Thanks for reading. Hope to see you soon!

 

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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
Online
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.

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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.
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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)
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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
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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.)
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