How are you today? I'm preparing for my upcoming residency that begins my 3rd semester of poetry gradate school. I'm reminded again of the ways my writing and teaching straddle both the worlds of healing arts & academia. I'm curious about how to continue to unify these realms, and hold space for them to inform one another as their own separate entities.
I recently read a reflection on the perils of sentimentality in poetry. It spoke about how most contemporary poetry is "self-conscious" about being emotionally expressive or overly "sentimental." I agree that where sentimentality can lose its accurate representation of reality---both in the larger world, and in our poetry---is in its over simplicity---that summation of an experience or person as one or another thing, good or bad, happy or sad, well or unwell. What feels more true to me, and resonant with the authentic human experience is the complexity of emotion. That way our lives and emotional responses to them are a myriad of colors, shapes, tones and textures living within our feeling bodies simultaneously.
This is one of the things I've found so personally resonant about poetry---that it's an invitation to explore what we don't entirely know or have reconciled, alongside a curiosity to express our experiences in their more truthful complexity. I suppose you could say this is my creative intention both as a poet and teacher. And I've found that this allowance of ourselves to express the sentimental in its fuller truth is where we can find the freedom that welcomes our own and each other's wholeness. This to me is the resonant beauty of poetry: allowing our fuller humanity, while creating more meaning in our lives.
Awareness of experience runs through both heart & head, and I continue to find that we long to connect with one another around our shared human experiences alongside our differences of race, culture, gender, and class. The expression of sentiment allows us to honor the complexity of feeling, and can be what brings us to connect more fully, authentically, and compassionately to ourselves, each other, and something larger regardless of the constructs that separate us.
Many of us want the poetry that invites us to discover. The poetry that allows us to more compassionately hold our lives, each other, and this beautiful and overwhelming 21st century world in all of its complexity.
Poetry allows us to step out of compartmentalized thinking, the page itself a holding vessel for renegotiating over-simplified identities. Sentiment is where our passion to create and express comes from, and learning poetry craft skills supports us in fine-tuning what it is we want to say and shape. Both on the page and off of it.
Sentiment is what enables us to make art from the myriad experiences of our mosaic heart.
Creating Our Way Forward
If these poetic intentions resonate with you, I'd love to have you write with me this summer in "Poetry 101" a six-week series at Boston's GrubStreet. We begin Friday, July 6.
As one of my creative writing mentors says: We will draft to discover, craft to create.
6 Fridays, July 6-August 10, 6-9pm
Additional GrubStreet classes:
Happy Hour Writing Session
Friday, August 10, 5:30-6:30pm
Poetry and the Body
Saturday, August 25, 10am-5pm
Group Yoga Classes
Yoga is our embodied poetry. A place to get curious and listen to the voice of the body.
As of now, I don't have any upcoming group yoga classes scheduled. You can visit my schedule here for any updates.
As always, hit "reply" and let me know if something resonates. I love hearing from you.
To the Freedom in Feeling & Forever Flowing Ink,