Studio Updates

On March 4, I will be teaching a daylong workshop at ZC in the conference center, And Then a Plank in Reason Broke:  Poetry, Uncertainty, and the Creative Process.  There are still spaces available in that if you’d like to register.  Feel free to email me for more information.   

A note about Individual Conferences:  As the workshop description indicates, there’s an option there for a 1-hour individual writing conference as well.  If that’s something you’re interested in, but won’t be taking the workshop, I would be happy to schedule a time to meet w/you through that option.   It’s at a slightly lower rate than my usual hourly fee for individual conferences, but I’m happy to make that available for that session for Sunday Studio participants.  If it’s something you’d like to explore, it’s a good chance to do that!  If you’re interested in exploring that on a more ongoing basis, feel free to write for more info.  I’m also open to work exchange for these conferences.  We can discuss details if you’re interested.  
Then, for March 11 & 18, the studio will meet at Montalvo Arts Center, where I will be in residence for March.  Montalvo is on 175 acres  of open space with hiking trails and gardens, so if you’d like to come down early, we can go for a hike/have a picnic~
It’s about an hour south of SF, so we will have to arrange for carpooling.  If you are interested in coming down, please email me and I will start to gather resources for how people can get down there.  If you think you can provide a ride, please let me know! Whether or not you know how you’d get there, just let me know if you’re interested.  I trust the details will work out! 
Then, we return to our regular schedule for April, back at SFZC, in the Art Lounge.
Dates for April:  1, 15, 22, & 29 (no studio on Easter).  If you’d like to workshop a piece on any of those dates, you can sign up by emailing me.  

The studio is now scheduled, mostly weekly, through August.  
here are the dates:
May 6, 13, 20 
June 3 and 24 
July 1, 8, 15, 29 
August 5, 12, 19, 26
And finally, for now, registration is now open for Tassajara summer workshops in poetry.  As you probably already know, Mark Doty, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Jane Hirshfield will each be teaching workshops.    here are the links: 

Mark Doty:  Deepening the Poem

Naomi Shihab Nye:  Words under the Words

“I knew all along you were mine”

Love Poems [a podcast from the Poetry Foundation]

[love is more thicker than forget]

By E. E. Cummings1894–1962

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is more mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

E.E. Cummings, “[love is more thicker than forget]” from Complete Poems 1904-1962, edited by George J. Firmage. Copyright 1926, 1954, 1991 by the Trustees for the E.E. Cummings Trust. Copyright © 1985 by George James Firmage. Reprinted with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Source: Poetry (January 1939).

And Then a Plank in Reason Broke: Poetry, Uncertainty, and the Creative Process

In place of the Studio on Sunday, March  4, we’ll have the following workshop.
And Then a Plank in Reason Broke: Poetry, Uncertainty, and the Creative Process:  A writing workshop cultivating curiosity, receptivity, and flexibility.
10 – 5, SFZC City Center, Conference Center
Uncertainty can feel like a problematic state, something we have to endure until we’ve managed to figure everything out and write it all down. Maybe we think we alone are beset by the sometimes persuasive doubt and fear that can attend any stage of the writing process.

But what if we reconsider uncertainty as an exhilarating ground of possibility and generativity? What if feeling lost is a signpost that can encourage us we’re where we need to be? What is the role of accident, and chance?

The hallmark trait of the poet, for John Keats, is the capacity for “being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” The uncertainty Keats speaks of is not a blandly passive “what-ev-er,” but rather an actively curious posture of being, an empathic flexibility, opening up space for receptivity, discovery, and innovation.

How do we stay in this uncomfortable position of not knowing long enough to allow new work to take shape? What the painter Robert Motherwell said of painting is perhaps true of tolerating uncertainty as well: it cannot be taught, but it can be learned. And it can be practiced.

We will write poems and explore process issues, paying attention to generative strategies. And we’ll cultivate a practice of keeping a process journal and assembling a commonplace book, a resource for ideas, sparks, and provocations.

Prose writers are also very welcome.

Over the course of the day, we’ll read short passages on the creative process, including excerpts from the journals and letters of John Keats, Edward Munch, Agnes Martin, John Cage, Theodore Roethke, Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Theodore Roethke, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and others.

Please bring:

  • plenty of fresh paper and a juicy pen or two
  • a piece of your own writing (for discussion, not required)
  • 2-3 examples of anything you have found inspiring/encouraging in your own process (e.g. quotations, objects, images)
Participants are invited to read any or all of the following texts before the workshop, though this is not required:
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Jane Hirshfield, Nine Gates
Mark Epstein, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart
Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Miranda July, It Chooses You

For an additional $25 fee, students can arrange to meet with the instructor for an individual one-hour conference (to be scheduled by instructor and student).Retreat fee:$80; $72 current SFZC members; $64 limited income.Registration: Please call 888.743.9362 or 415.475.9362 to register.

  Remembering Stanley Kunitz  by Jane Hirshfield (includes audio of SK reading Jane’s poem, “Against Certainty”)