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"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books
and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, & don't forget to make some art---write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can."
~Neil Gaiman
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Dear Luminous Ones~

I've been in this ongoing exploration this year of the terrains of loneliness and solitude. The spaces in between them. And how to give voice to our grief when we are somewhere uncharted, between the two. As creatives and even as humans, we need space and time to reflect, revere our lives, and self-connect. And yet we also have a deep hunger for meaningful and joyful outward connection with people and places in our lives.

I'm currently in the process of preparing for my upcoming final MFA residency this January, and alongside self-care in the form of pedicures, group yoga classes, and social media connection, I've been nourishing my solitude by reading and writing poems, and reading prose essays on the craft of poetry. I recently read a prose piece by poet Olga Levertov that spoke to my present curiosity and exploration of these terrains of loneliness, grief, and solitude. It resonated with my ongoing belief that free verse poetry helps us make sense of and create order in our lives out of seeming deep disorder. Levertov says: "What I mean by that word "exploratory" is that such poetry, more than poetry of the past, incorporates and reveals the process of thinking/feeling, feeling/thinking, rather than focusing more exclusively on its results. In another prose essay on poetry Robert Hass also says: “The metrical poem begins with an assumption of human life which takes place in a pattern of orderly recurrence, the free verse poem with an assumption of openness or chaos in which an order must be discovered. The free verse poem insists on the first stage of sensual attention, of possibility and emergence.”  

I remembered this must be why I like free verse poems so much, that way they provide the opportunity to create order and meaning out of seeming disorder, and allow us to witness our thinking and feeling processes in real, organic time as we create that order through our creative self-expression.  This all resonates so much with the space of solitude within me, in ways that can turn grief and loneliness into the more compassionate and self-connected openings of solitude.  

At another point in her essay, Levertov says "The voice thus revealed will not necessarily be the recognizable "outer" one heard, but rather the inner voice, the voice of each one's solitude made audible and singing to the multitude of other solitudes." This too is one of my fundamental beliefs about the alchemical mystery of poetry---that way it allows us to turn toward our grief, hold and give voice to it in a way that sings to both our own, and another's solitude. This is one of the ways in which I see poetry as connecting us more deeply to ourselves, each other, and something larger. That way sacred, mundane, and even profane in our lives are doorways back to our "thinking/feeling" selves; both our sensual resonance, and the wisdom voice of our deeper cognitive self-understanding. Rooting us deeper into our own capacity for self-love as understood through the terrain of mind/body. 

And our loneliness, when it arises, can also be an invitation to find and connect with communities that can more fully hold and understand our aches, and our creative needs to alchemize them into art. 

I find it so purposeful at this time of year, where we are often asked to only be outwardly joyful and happy, to also hold space for solitude, and to nourish what aches; to allow that to make our experiences and our lives even more whole and meaningful in their entirety and fullness. 

As of now, I have a few upcoming offerings scheduled for 2019, and I'd love to have you join me. These themes, tools, and practices of allowing what breaks us open to make us more whole, and how to alchemize the mixed experiences of head & heart into meaningful art, will be at the center of all of these offerings:

GRUBSTREET 

Master Poetry 
Begins Monday, January 14
Monday's 6-9pm {10 Weeks}
Application deadline has been extended to Thursday, January 3 at midnight!

3 Hours, 3 Poems
Friday, February 22
10:30am-1:30pm 


LIZARD LOUNGE

Most Valuable Poet Poetry Slam 

Sunday, January 6
8:30-10:30pm {doors at 7:30pm} 

Next week will be a pre-scheduled slam, and I'll be sharing a few of my spoken word poems.
Most weeks, there is an open slam and open mic so if you're curious about giving your own poems a spoken voice, come play! 

To the ecstasy in the ache,

~Lindsey

APPLY FOR MASTER POETRY
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