THE SLOW POEM: WRITING WITH ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD

This Sunday, we’ll have our final Summer Intensive:

THE SLOW POEM: WRITING WITH ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD

AUGUST 23, 9:30 – 2:00

We all have pieces we know we want to write, but they hover near-completion for years, requiring some unpredictable process we must go through in ourselves, or a shift in our wider context, before the piece finds its form. In this workshop, we’ll entertain the proposition that some writing actually takes the time it takes, rather than conforming neatly to our imagined schedule of perfection. We will experiment with dismantling all the self-critique that attends pieces we’ve been writing forever, and see what happens when we bring these elusive pieces into a more neutral regard. Finishing something can be a terrifying prospect, but sometimes all that is necessary is for there to be a sense of witness and kindred company. We’ll cultivate a stable and responsive circle of listening in which you can find camaraderie and perspective in your writing process. We’ll engage in writing exercises and learn some practices for moving through resistance and finding entry points. Each person will have the option to share their work with the group and receive informal feedback. The workshop is open to writers in any genre.

Summer 2015 Schedule

Upcoming Studio Sessions 

Sundays 10 – 12

May 31
July 19
August 2
August 16
August 30

SUMMER INTENSIVES

Sundays, 9:30 – 2:00

May 10
June 14
June 28
July 12
July 26
Aug 9
Aug 23

MEADOW MIND: CULTIVATING THE URBAN GARDEN

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MEADOW MIND: CULTIVATING THE URBAN GARDEN

6 Sessions »Saturday, June 20–August 1
(no session July 4)
10 am–1 pm | SFAI Campus Meadow | $275
NG1003
This class is open to all; new and more experienced gardeners will emerge with fresh ideas and skills. Our work in the garden will always include options that will allow you to participate at whatever level of physical activity feels comfortable for you. 

Come dig in the soil in the historic SFAI meadow—a sloping green haven at the northeast corner of campus—frequented by hummingbirds, hawks, and swallowtails, and home to a venerable California Buckeye, and an encompassing redwood. Over six Saturdays we will work together in the garden as we explore such core principles as soil building, composting, water conservation, seed starting, plant care, and pruning.  As we take part in the rhythms of the garden, the garden will cultivate our own capacities for observation, empathy, and resilience.

Class meetings will include collaborating on a garden project, as well as working on existing plantings throughout the meadow. Each session will include conversation springing from reading and observations, as well as a period of more solitary time, in which you can write, draw, make notes, meditate, or otherwise follow your own interests. Course readings provide fundamental principles of gardening and permaculture, and extend connections to poetry, art, and science. In addition to the work we’ll do as a group, you’ll also receive individual guidance in starting or further developing your own garden.

Register Now »

SUMMER INTENSIVES: REVISED SCHEDULE, JUNE 22

IMG_3390 “Summer requires fearlessness.  Spring can be fearful;  for its blossoms apprehension is like a home.  But fruit  requires a calm and heavy sun.”  Rilke, The Florence Diary, May 17, 1898 In honor of the generativity of summer, here are 7 generative intensives that will allow you to immerse yourself in a specific aspect of your writing/writing process.

    • Each workshop is limited to 7 people to offer close attention to each person.
    • Each workshop includes a 30-minute private session, to be scheduled later
    • Location: 4052 18th St. @Emergence Healing Arts Studio

Sundays 9:30-2:00.  (with 30 min. break) Cost:  $100 per workshop

REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  JULY 8

JULY 12        LONG STORY LONG: An Expedition Beyond Boredom

JULY 26        THE VERB:  A Revision Workshopout

AUG 9           PLAYING SCALES: Expanding Your Writing Repertoire

AUG 23        THE SLOW POEM: Writing with all the Time in the World

Past

MAY 10        THE RESILIENT LINE:  (Mother’s Day Edition)

JUNE 14       DRAWN FROM LIFE: Writing as Gesture

More detailed descriptions soon! For further details, and to register, please email me here

JULY 12:  LONG STORY LONG: An Expedition Beyond Boredom

What are you leaving out? What do you skip over because you think you’re trying the patience of your listener, or reader? Maybe you cut your explorations short because something may feel too trivial, too personal, or irrelevant.

In this clip from You and Me and Everyone We Know, Miranda July’s character, Christine, asks Richard, John Hawkes’ character, “How’d you do that,” referring to his bandaged hand. He asks, “Do you want the long version or the short version?” He hasn’t even finished the question yet, and she says, “The long one.”

Through writing exercises, we’ll explore what can happen when we’re not confining ourselves to the short version . For the purposes of our workshop, we will do some exercises that involve an actual listener, but mostly we will invoke a quality of listening each person can access within themselves.

Please bring any notes, poems, ideas, or drafts that may benefit from some ample space. And let’s keep in mind that the “long version” may not be any longer, but it may be fuller or deeper. The workshop is open to writers in any genre, and exercises can be easily applied to poetry or prose.

JULY 26        THE VERB:  A Revision Workshopout

Description to come.

PLAYING SCALES: EXPANDING YOUR WRITING REPERTOIRE

AUGUST 9, 9:30 – 2:00 Some of our strongest writing comes as a surprise, and in that moment seems effortless. We can’t schedule or plan for such moments, but there are practices we can do to help cultivate our responsiveness and technical skill. Even the most virtuosic pianists play scales to maintain their fluidity, spontaneity, and precision.  By playing scales, a pianist moves through the sounds of each key, through dynamics of touch, speed, tone, and volume, with the freedom that comes from these qualities not being tied to a specific piece. In writing, we rarely set out to write just to move through the paces of what language offers in terms of sound, syntax, word formation, or figurative language. We demand that we have something to say before we even sit down to write.  One consequence of such an all-or-nothing relationship with writing is more often the latter:  nothing! This workshop will offer students an array of exercises in form, image, and perception that will allow them to deepen their relationship to language and to generate new work. Each participant will have opportunities to read their work and discuss some aspect of their process throughout the day.  Each person will develop a tailored set of “scales and arpeggios” that will continue to serve their writing practice. A workshop for writers in all genres.

THE SLOW POEM: WRITING WITH ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD

AUGUST 23, 9:30 – 2:00

We all have pieces we know we want to write, but they hover near-completion for years, requiring some mysterious process we must go through in ourselves before the piece finds its form. In this workshop, we’ll entertain the proposition that some writing actually takes the time it takes, rather than conforming neatly to our imagined schedule of perfection. We will experiment with dismantling all the self-critique that attends pieces we’ve been writing forever, and see what happens when we bring these elusive pieces into a more neutral regard. Finishing something can be a terrifying prospect, but sometimes all that is necessary is for there to be a sense of witness and kindred company. We’ll cultivate a stable and responsive circle of listening in which you can find camaraderie and perspective in your writing process. We’ll engage in writing exercises and learn some practices for moving through resistance and finding entry points. Each person will have the option to share their work with the group and receive informal feedback. The workshop is open to writers in any genre.

past

THE RESILIENT LINE:  WRITING THROUGH GRIEF (MOTHER’S DAY EDITION) MAY 10, 9:30 – 2:00

Why love what you will lose?  There is nothing else to love.  Louise Glück Major shifts and challenges in our lives can spark our most urgent writing. At the same time, when something so deeply affects us, how do we begin to write “about” it?  In Heaven’s Coast, by Mark Doty, one of the indelible memoirs of the devastation of AIDS, Doty allows the reader into his struggle to find ways to speak after his partner’s death.  In this intensive workshop we will explore ways to write into, or through their own experience. In generative exercises we’ll practice working with particular detail and dialogue, and other elements that create immediacy. We’ll discuss how routine can create stability for the unsettling process of writing in this difficult terrain. Writers who are exploring ways to move through resistance or who would like to begin to approach something they have not yetfound a way to write about may find the workshop especially helpful.  Each participant will have opportunities to read their work and discuss some aspect of their process throughout the day.  Readings will include the work of Gregory Orr, Mark Doty, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Nick Flynn, Elizabeth McCracken, Jillian Weise, Emily Rapp, Marie Howe, and Meghan O’Rourke.

DRAWN FROM LIFE: WRITING AS GESTURE

JUNE 14, 9:30 – 2:00 In this workshop, we’ll borrow from the drawing studio in writing “sketches” from verbal prompts, simple phrases that can spark associations, images, narrative, & dialogue. Working gesturally in this way can spark immediacy, ease and naturalness. Often students find that they write about something they’ve long wanted to approach.  Students will shape their sketches into one longer piece, or a series of connected shorter works. Students will come away from the workshop with a tailored set of prompts for future writing, and a sheaf of short pieces to develop further into poems and essays.

Why Love What You Will Lose: Writing Through Grief, March 14 • 10-4

IMG_7201

I’ll be teaching a workshop at the Grotto in a couple of weeks.

You can register here. 

10:00 – 4:00 [+1 hour for lunch]

Date: Saturday, March 14

Course fee: $100

Why love what you will lose?  There is nothing else to love. —Louise Glück

Major shifts and challenges in our lives can spark our most urgent writing.  When something so deeply affects us, how do we begin to write “about” it? In our day together, we’ll explore how to find points of entry and how to work with resistance. In generative exercises we’ll practice working with particular image, detail, and dialogue, and other elements that create immediacy. We’ll cultivate a responsive circle of listening and we’ll discuss how routine and form can create stability for the unsettling process of writing in this difficult terrain.  All genres welcome.  Tea & snacks provided. Please bring your lunch.

Spring 2015 Dates + New time

IMG_7234

Hi everyone,

Looking forward to resuming the studio sessions next Sunday, at the new time: 10:00 – 12:00.

The sessions will continue to focus on a combination of generative writing, close reading, craft discussion, and sharing work.

The Spring “quarter” will have 9 sessions, meeting approximately every other week.

Fees:
Individual sessions:                      $30

Packet                                          4 for $100 (must be used by June 21)

Limited income                             min.$15 per session

REGISTRATION

You can register on-site directly with me, with payment by cash or check. Advance registration with Paypal is also available.

Please feel free to call or email if you have any questions.

WORK EXCHANGE is available at a rate of 2 hours of work in exchange for 1 studio session. Please talk to me if this is something you’d like to explore.

POLICIES

Please arrive by 9:45 to allow time for registration.

No one will be admitted after 10:00.

DATES

February 15

March 1

March 15

March 29

April 12

April 26

May 3

May 31

June 21

4 New Summer Intensives

SUMMER INTENSIVES

IMG_3198

“Summer requires fearlessness.  Spring can be fearful; 
for its blossoms apprehension is like a home.  But fruit 
requires a calm and heavy sun.” 
Rilke, The Florence Diary, May 17, 1898

 

In honor of the generativity of summer, here are 4 generative intensives that will allow you to immerse yourself in a specific aspect of your writing/writing process.
 

 

Sundays 9:30-2:30.  (with 1 hour break for lunch)

Cost:  $75 per workshop

Location: 4052 18th St. @Emergence Healing Arts Studio

  • limited to 8 people,
  • includes one free regular studio session, to be used at any time

 

  • JULY 20: Playing Scales:  Expanding Your Writing Repertoire
  • JULY 27: Why Love What You Will Lose:  Writing Through Grief
  • AUGUST 3: Poses: Writing as Gesture
  • AUGUST 10:  The Slow Poem:  Letting Writing Take Its Time

 

PLAYING SCALES: EXPANDING YOUR WRITING REPERTOIRE

A workshop for writers in all genres
July 20, 9:30 – 2:30
Some of our strongest writing comes as a surprise, and in that moment seems effortless. We can’t schedule or plan for such moments, but there are practices we can do to help cultivate our responsiveness and technical skill. Even the most virtuosic pianists play scales to maintain their fluidity, spontaneity, and precision.  By playing scales, a pianist moves through the sounds of each key, through dynamics of touch, speed, tone, and volume, with the freedom that comes from these qualities not being tied to a specific piece. In writing, we rarely set out to write just to move through the paces of what language offers in terms of sound, syntax, word formation, or figurative language. We demand that we have something to say before we even sit down to write.  One consequence of such an all-or-nothing relationship with writing is more often the latter:  nothing! This workshop will offer students an array of exercises in form, image, and perception that will allow them to deepen their relationship to language and to generate new work. Each participant will have opportunities to read their work and discuss some aspect of their process throughout the day.  Each person will develop a tailored set of “scales and arpeggios” that will continue to serve their writing practice.

WHY LOVE WHAT YOU WILL LOSE:  WRITING THROUGH GRIEF
July 27,9:30 – 2:30

Why love what you will lose?  There is nothing else to love. 
Louise Glück

Major shifts and challenges in our lives can spark our most urgent writing. At the same time, when something so deeply affects us, how do we begin to write “about” it?  In Heaven’s Coast, by Mark Doty, one of the indelible memoirs of the devastation of AIDS, Doty allows the reader into his struggle to find ways to speak after his partner’s death.  In this intensive workshop we will explore ways to write into, or through their own experience. In generative exercises we’ll practice working with particular detail and dialogue, and other elements that create immediacy. We’ll discuss how routine can create stability for the unsettling process of writing in this difficult terrain. Writers who are exploring ways to move through resistance or who would like to begin to approach something they have not yetfound a way to write about may find the workshop especially helpful.  Each participant will have opportunities to read their work and discuss some aspect of their process throughout the day.  Readings will include the work of Gregory Orr, Mark Doty, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Nick Flynn, Elizabeth McCracken, Jillian Weise, Emily Rapp, Marie Howe, and Meghan O’Rourke.

 

POSES: WRITING AS GESTURE

AUGUST 3, 9:30 – 2:30
In this workshop, we’ll borrow from the drawing studio in writing “sketches” from verbal prompts, simple phrases that can spark associations, images, narrative, & dialogue. Working gesturally in this way can spark immediacy, ease and naturalness. Often students find that they write about something they’ve long wanted to approach.  Students will shape their sketches into one longer piece, or a series of connected shorter works. Students will come away from the workshop with a tailored set of prompts for future writing, and a sheaf of short pieces to develop further into poems and essays.

 

THE SLOW POEM: LETTING WRITING TAKE ITS TIME

AUGUST 10, 9:30 – 2:30

We all have pieces we know we want to write, but they hover near-completion for years, requiring some mysterious process we must go through in ourselves before the piece finds its form. In this workshop, we’ll entertain the proposition that some writing actually takes the time it takes, rather than conforming neatly to our imagined schedule of perfection.

We will experiment with dismantling all the self-critique that attends pieces we’ve been writing forever, and see what happens when we bring these elusive pieces into a more neutral regard. Finishing something can be a terrifying prospect, but sometimes all that is necessary is for there to be a sense of witness and kindred company.

We’ll cultivate a stable and responsive circle of listening in which students can find camaraderie and perspective in their writing process. Students will engage in writing exercises and will learn several practices that will help them move through resistance and find entry points. Students will have the opportunity to share their work with the group and receive informal feedback. The workshop is open to writers in any genre, and exercises can be easily applied to poetry or prose.

 

For further details, and to register, please email me here

 

The Attending Eye: A Photography and Poetry Workshop, 5/3

with Genine Lentine and Shundo David Haye
in the Conference Center at 308 Page StreetSaturday, May 3, 2014
10 am – 5 pm

What do we see? How does what we see change as we regard it? How do we change in this encounter? Immerse yourself in a day of looking closely.

In this workshop, we will engage in different modes of attention, stimulating our receptivity and our agility of response. We’ll sit zazen. We’ll cultivate our close observation in a combination of writing and photography exercises. We’ll support each other’s work in an immersive, exploratory environment.

Can our openness allow us a fresh regard for what is right in front of us?

To take photographs means to recognize—simultaneously and within a fraction of a second—both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.—Henri Cartier-Bresson

Hear how the mouth
so full
of longing for the world,
changes its shape?

—Mark Doty, “Difference”

Please bring:

  • a camera,
  • plenty of fresh paper and a juicy pen
  • a ready mind
  • your lunch

Fees: $80; $72 current SFZC members; $64 limited income. Some partial scholarships available. No one turned away for lack of funds. (About Registration, Scholarships and Cancellations.)

S P R I N G 2 0 1 4 D A T E S

commonplace book001_23:00 – 5:00

SUNDAYS

April 26

Email me here to reserve a space 

May 4

Email me here to reserve a space 

May 11:  No Studio

May 18

Email me here to reserve a space 

May 25

Email me here to reserve a space 

June 1

Email me here to reserve a space 

June 8: No Studio

Email me here to reserve a space 

June 15:No Studio

Email me here to reserve a space 

June 22

Email me here to reserve a space 

June 29

Email me here to reserve a space 

July 6: No Studio

Email me here to reserve a space 

July 13

Email me here to reserve a space 

July 19

Email me here to reserve a space 

July 26

Email me here to reserve a space 

for more info you can write to me below:

The Intimate Thread: Reading as a Devotional Practice

IMG_1558I’m very much looking forward to next weekend’s workshop with Jody Greene at Yoga Tree, The Intimate Thread:  Reading as a Devotional Practice. 

Jody and I have been talking for a while about wanting to teach a workshop that provides a space for an embodied exploration of reading.

I love reading aloud with friends and am always amazed at how simple it is to do and how much happens in that simple act of reading with others.  One of the most memorable experiences of reading aloud I have ever had took place over the summer of 2005, with Stanley Kunitz, when we read Moby Dick aloud.

Reading aloud was something we’d always done in the years when I worked with him, either in the course of preparing a talk, or in working on The Wild Braid, or as time allowed, as a way of ending the afternoon’s work. And of course, because it was Stanley, if we were reading Wallace Stevens, we’d be reading from a first edition of Harmonium, bought in real time.   I loved the strange fringe lines that ran across the pages in that book and am happy that they are still part of my edition.  slowblog harmonium ornament2

Reading came to be a direct path “home.” Over and over I noticed this phenomenon: wherever he may have been as he set out along of the syntax of a sentence, a rope bridge strung above a rushing current, he could find his way “back.” As he read, his energy would shift palpably, his presence becoming more saturated, coming into a clear coalescence of what could be called “self.” He’d sit up straighter in his chair, his breathing clearing with each word, and there he was, full force: that voice, his trademark acuity subtly registering in his nuanced intonation, pacing, gestures, and pauses. I don’t know what the physiological process was, but I imagine the brittled synapses restored to their suppleness in the act of reading. I picture the sparks leaping across the axons as he found his rhythm.

Frequently, visiting friends would take turns reading.  One afternoon we were on the screened porch, several hundred pages in, on chapter 44, “The Chart,” which describes how whales find their way around the “unhooped oceans of the planet.” It was Stanley’s turn, and as he read, the wind started picking up for a late afternoon storm. Stanley read on, undeterred––indeed, spurred, “. . . the Sperm Whales, guided by some infallible instinct––say, rather, secret intelligence from the Deity—mostly swim in veins, as they are called; continuing their way along a given ocean-line with such undeviating exactitude, that no ship ever sailed her course, by any chart, with one tithe of such marvelous precision.” As he read, I had such a strong sense that this was exactly what he was doing, navigating the current of the articulated breath.

For the workshop with Jody, we imagine the two days to be immersive, with restorative poses and different contexts for reading together:  aloud, silently; individually, in pairs, as a group.

We are also very much thinking about our relationship to reading on screens and very much consider these two afternoons to be a relief from that.

Here’s the description:

Over two afternoons, this workshop will explore reading as a practice of awareness, attentiveness, and devotion. We will consider reading as a sacred, embodied act, one that gathers body, breath, and mind in a single-pointed effort to attend with care.

When we read, we enter into an intimate relationship with the traces another person has left on the page, and join a living, vibrant conversation. Reading in this way requires us to slow down, to set aside some of the usual devices and distractions that can fracture our attention, and to suspend for a moment some of our expectations about the world and the people around us. In reading, we open eyes, ears, and mind to encounter the new; even and especially when we are rereading or re-encountering something we have met many times before. We greet the work anew, the work answers back, and a conversation unfolds.

Cost: $75 for both sessions, Saturday and Sunday.
$40 for Saturday Only

The works we study (poems, sutras, short prose) will span ancient to modern: from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and short passages from the Ramayana to poetry by Hafiz, Kabir, Emily Dickinson, Rilke, Mark Doty, and Mary Oliver, among many others.

We’ll engage with each other through and around the works we read. We will practice reading aloud to each other, and collectively. We will use both dialogue and writing to encourage and cultivate our capacity to respond patiently, with both heart and mind.

We’ll use meditation and pranayama to center and ground ourselves, slowing the usual habits of our busy mind. This workshop will consider reading as an embodied practice that takes place through the eyes, the hands, the mouth, and throughout the body as a whole – in gesture and in stillness.

Appropriate for all students and teachers of yoga, as well as writers and readers at all levels.
No experience or requirements beyond basic curiosity and the desire to encounter anew something you have probably been doing for almost your entire life: the simple and deeply pleasurable act of reading.

Students who wish to take only one of the two days are encouraged to take first day’s workshop if possible, but either day is possible. 

Jody Greene came to the practice of yoga in 2000, and her path to teaching continues to unfold daily through practice, study, and the karma yoga of assisting. She is deeply blessed and enlivened by ongoing studentship with her teacher, Janet Stone. In 2001, Jody began studying Zen Buddhism, and has practiced in both lay and monastic settings throughout the past decade. She is currently especially interested in exploring the intersections and diversions of Zen and Tantric Philosophy, under inspiring and inspired teachers Daijaku Kinst, Paul Haller, and Hareesh Wallace. In the interstices, she is Professor of Literature, Feminist Studies, and the History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz