The Feast of Losses: Writing into Transience

Here’s a workshop I’ll be teaching at SFZC City Center on Sunday, June 10 from 10 – 5.

The Feast of Losses: Writing into Transience

“Death is the mother of beauty.” – Wallace Stevens

In “The Layers,” Stanley Kunitz asks, “How shall the heart be reconciled / to its feast of losses?” Grief and loss can feel like a solitary, unprecedented process. Encountering a poem that speaks to our experience can help us find connection and perspective, and provide a way for us turn toward what is difficult to bear. How can a poem about death instruct us in the full catastrophic miracle of being alive? We will read work that explores the possibility that there is no monolithic proposition that can be simply called loss.

What is the relationship of creativity and grief? Is there a place no poem can reach? Or can reading, or writing, a poem actually help us reach depths of feeling previously inaccessible to us? What do we find here and how is it different from what we fear?

We will write short poems and prose pieces exploring grief and loss with an eye toward shaping the pieces into a longer poem or lyric essay.

Please bring:

  • plenty of fresh paper and a juicy pen
  • a piece of your own writing (for discussion, not required)
  • a short poem or prose piece that has provided a sense of company in a difficult time
  • a photograph and/or an object that has resonance for you

A reader including Mark Doty, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Marilynne Robinson, Marie Howe, Richard McCann, Dorothea Lasky, Naomi Shihab Nye, Stanley Kunitz, Elizabeth McCracken, Mark Doty, Jillian Weise, Joan Didion, Jane Hirshfield, Rainer Maria Rilke, Matthew Dickman, and others will be provided.

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).

Questions? Feel free to email Genine.

Retreat fee: $90; $81 current SFZC members; $72 limited income.

Registration: please visit, or call 888.743.9362  or 415.475.9362.,119&pageid=3164



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