Dear Creative Community Far & Near~
How are you faring in these unprecedented times? I think we've all been on the emotional trajectory of anxiety, fear, disappointment, despair, anger, disillusionment; hopefully, hope has woven its way in there for us all, if even in small moments.
I've been riding those same waves these past few weeks, and I've come to re-remember in this chaos and confusion just how much we need to exercise our voice and our creative muscles in challenging moments. I've found sustenance in the words of Gregory Orr from an NPR story on craft, words that I carry like a talisman through the uncertainty of this earthly experience: "I believe in poetry as a way of surviving the
emotional chaos, spiritual confusions, and traumatic events that comes with being alive." And as all of the individuals on this planet make our way though this collective trauma, I suppose I feel even less afraid of being thought an idealist in seeking and standing by those words.
Though much of my own poem-making to date has been an alchemizing of the experiences within my own personal life, this current situation is one that we know both intimately and globally. I'm curious: what kind of poetry can we build from that kind of inside and outside, personal and collective perspective?
Perhaps It was the same for you: a barrage of email closures as this first began. Kripalu, the MFA, MassMouth, GrubStreet, the NBA, NHL, MLB, Lizard Lounge, Broadway, and Flour Bakery. I couldn't help but feel despondent about the ways the world was being told to self-quarantine and distance socially. Not being so close to spring and two days away from Berklee's Spring Break and actively thinking again about how I could bring more meaningful connection into my life--not less.
I received news on a Wednesday that Berklee's classes would be going remote. The next day I tutored students who sat in front of computer screens on dorm floors, guitar necks in the background and rooms half packed, trying to finish midterm essays while also figuring out how to get back to their family's homes and countries in the next three days. I empathized so much with their sense of displacement, and I could only hope that in bearing witness both to my and their reality, and to their unerring commitments to fulfill their assignments, it could be some sort of holding space for all of us, a way of continuance in an equal parts beautiful and broken-open world.
I believe wholeheartedly in poetry as an ordering device, poems as vehicles for expression, connection, and emotion. In our bodies and lives as vessels for experience, and in our on-going need to give voice to the sacred, mundane, and profane experiences in our "one wild and precious life" as Mary Oliver calls it.
I know this current learning curve and the shifts in our daily routines both big and small are uncomfortable for us all, but I'm also curious about what can be birthed from this collective time of compassion, self-care, self-inquiry and renewed urgency for creativity. All in the name of sustainability.
SIX WEEKS, SIX POEMS
REMOTE COURSE BEGINS MAY 5th
One big way this is growing me? My upcoming 6 Weeks, 6 Poems class hosted by GrubStreet is going remote! This means beginning Tuesday, May 5, we'll meet for virtual tea and poetry from 10:30am-1:30pm. Though I am a die-hard in-person class meeting kind of person, I see this remote learning as an opportunity to include people beyond the walls of the classroom in the creative, healing, nurturing, world re-ordering waters of poetry.
For more info and to reserve your spot, click HERE.
I don't doubt that in these 6 weeks of poem-making, peer workshopping, and craft study, you will use the awareness and expanded perspective you gain in combining self-compassion with your poetry to uncover your beauty, experience the innate sacredness of your humanity, and integrate the material of your lives more fully into a deepened sense of wholeness.
How can this, too, connect us more fully and passionately to ourselves, each other and something larger? Come explore this with me in poetic community.
In Poetry & Sustainability,