I am honored to have a poem recently published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). This poem took 6 years to arrive in its current form. It is inspired by my sister-in-law who died in 2014 of breast cancer. She’d beaten it once and had 7 years of remission before it came raging back. She was always optimistic, even days before her final breath.
Poetry helps me find “the place beyond words.” We poets use words to point ourself and others toward those ineffable places. When this water of 'being' is running through me, I write for the joy of participating and the hope of learning something new. If my words then touch others I am rewarded a second time.
I know we are all feeling anxious and uncertain. Unknowns are hard to deal with. In spite of this many people are still making art; some of it related to the Coronavirus. This poem is my way of trying to hold disparate realities together.
Stay safe, stay home, find your own creative expressions and enjoy some down time.
I’ll be teaching a 2 day workshop in Port Townsend. Come join me at The Writers Workshoppe.
Dates: Saturday and Sunday, April 4th and 5th
Time: 10:00am to 3:00pm
Limited to: 10 participants
“Story [or poetry] is both a primal, concrete way of ordering experience and also a way of opening the self to disorder. When lyric ceases to hide behind abstraction…and descend down into the chaos and specifics of the physical world to seek its meanings, it is another way that it has of making itself vulnerable to disorder. …One of story’s primary purposes is to lay claim to experience. Autobiographical storytelling can take personal experience back from silence, shame, fear, or oblivion… By telling his or her story, the poet overcomes isolation and silence.” — Gregory Orr
“The only way through pain…is to absorb, probe, understand exactly what it is and what it means. To close the door on pain is to miss the chance for growth…”- May Sarton
In this two day intensive workshop we will read and write poems about our experiences with illness, trauma and healing. These experiences are held in our bodies and we will engage in an initial centering exercise to help us focus. We will read poems with an eye and ear to understanding how emotions and experiences are captured and held in images, metaphors and narratives. I will provide you with prompts and structures for writing. There will be time to share and receive feedback on the second day of the workshop. You will come away with a better appreciation for how poetry can hold the often unspeakable and ineffable, and a couple of your own new drafts of poems or stories. Some experience with poetry or writing is helpful but not required.
I plan to teach a 3rd session of my class The Words to Say It: Writing and Reading Poems about Illness, Trauma & Healing at Hugo House starting April 17, 2019.
I’ve taught this 6 week workshop before but thought I’d share one of the many approaches I use to start writing for those of you who may be interested in the class but wonder how it goes.
If you think this class interests you, you can register here.