I’m Coming to Seattle + Broken Broadsides + Dear Reader, A query . . .

Poetry reading featuring Leanne Dunic, Elaina Ellis, Amber Flame, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Shin Yu Pai, and Holly Wren Spaulding. Gather round, mill about, and listen to these poets amidst an installation of Expedition Press’ Broken Broadside series and abstract paintings influenced by the authors and other texts.

This event will double as a closing party for the two April exhibitions at Core: Myrna Keliher’s “On Edge” and Sara Everett’s “Mending Place.” You can catch the opening reception for these exhibits on April 5, 6-9pm, during the Pioneer Square First Thursday Artwalk.

Free and open to the public. Expect snacks, drinks, and standing room only with strong words in print, paint, and voice. Come, see, listen!

Dear Reader, Do you live in Seattle? I’d love to teach a short, generative poetry workshop while I am in town. It’s one of my favorite things to do and I’ll feel best about making this long trip if I can be of service while I’m in town for this reading.

I’m looking for suitable venues or enthusiastic hosts, and promise a rich experience for aspiring and committed writers, in return for any ideas or help you might be able to offer. Get in touch through my contact page if you have ideas, or even if you just want get on a list of interested participants. The date would be April 24th.


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Moon Poem + 21 Poems in March

Last year I started making postcards to send to the writers, readers and students on my mailing list. I’ve always loved receiving picture postcards and letters, and am fortunate enough to have many friends who share my passion for sending personal correspondence through the actual mail. Some even use vintage stamps. My latest card was sent a week or so ago, and inspired by the fact that we’ll enjoy two full moons during the month of March. Here it is in case you didn’t receive one.


March is also when I host the 21 Day Poetry Challenge. This all-level generative course is designed to support a daily, doable writing practice and will guide you through 21+ different ways to do that, while encouraging you to enjoy yourself in the process.

We learn about the craft of poetry as we look at some of my favorite contemporary poems, often borrowing writing strategies from our reading. Each session I create brand new content. For you! Some participants have done this course at least a dozen times already. Books have been written.

Lessons are delivered to your inbox each morning at 6 AM EST. I encourage you to write along in real time with everyone else, but I know plenty of writers who do the readings and use the prompts at their own pace, too. They never expire.

We begin March 1 and finish on the Vernal Equinox. There’s more info and testimonials among my offerings, and you can enroll here.


March 21 Day Poetry Challenge

March 1-21, 2018.


*Includes a live workshop via video on March 20 and feedback on work in progress.


Here’s a postcard from early winter. I only a made a few of these, so many folks didn’t receive one.

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2018 Offerings w/Holly Wren Spaulding & Poetry Forge

w/Holly Wren Spaulding
& Poetry Forge

*I am still finalizing dates and details for the second half of the year.


The Practice of Poetry
Practice takes practice. Let’s explore what that means.
February 5-March 4, 2018
*Offered online through Interlochen College of Creative Arts. Enroll here.

What We Do
At-home writing regimen for poets who want to write more
February 9-28, 2018
$125. Enroll here.

21 day poetry challenge
March 1-21, 2018
*Also offered in June, September and December, with all new content each time.
$145. Enroll here.

Poetry Immersion: Deeper Practice
Online apprenticeship for committed poets
April 6-May 27, 2018
$395. Enroll here.

Also in the works: An online summer camp for poets, July 2-30, 2018. Details to follow.


Poetry Writing Intensive: Birthing a Bigger Poem
Explore the process of turning a small idea or text into something more ambitious
April 9-10, 2018
Interlochen, MI.
$195. Enroll here.

Re-vision Workshop for Poets
What to do with all these drafts? You’ll learn my favorite strategies for finding the poem inside the poem.
April 11, 2018
Interlochen, MI
$85. Enroll here.

Small Pages Retreat
half-day guided writing & collage w/ artist Carol C. Spaulding
June and August: Dates TBD
Glen Lake, Michigan
$175. Details to follow.

Poetry as Integrative Medicine
Because the right words, in the right order, are medicine. Because for millennia our peoples have sung, chanted and told stories in verse to make meaning, mend, grow stronger, prevail.
International Affairs Conference
July 21-28, 2018
Star Island, New Hampshire. More info.


Also in the works: Poetry Manuscript incubator in Montana in October. Details to follow.


Broken Broadsides 
Core Gallery, Seattle
hosted by Expedition Press
April 25, 7:00 pm








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New Online Course: The Practice of Poetry

I’m happy to announce that I will teach a brand new online course for Interlochen Center for the Arts called The Practice of Poetry. A year in the making, this four-week generative session will focus on the fundamentals of creative practice as it relates to the art and craft of poetry.

We will cover the following topics during our time together:

How to Begin

How to Keep Going

How to Navigate Difficulty

How to Revise Your Work in Progress.

The course includes videos, readings, inspiring writing prompts, and thoughtful feedback on a final portfolio (optional). We’ll also meet for a live workshop via Zoom.

Join us and write with me in February!  Enrollment is open until we reach capacity.

We begin February 5, 2018.


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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.


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


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,


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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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