Live Virtual Group Session: 7pm EDT May 21st 2020

Many thanks to all who joined us Thursday evening for our session!  It has been heartening to welcome back so many returning participants, and exciting to keep seeing new faces each time we gather for this work online, with visitors from so many different places. 

The text for this session was “won’t you celebrate with me” by National Book Award winning poet, Lucille Clifton (posted below).  It was a phenomenal conversation starter and participants quickly began to offer observations and reflections on the personal connections they made to Clifton’s words and the layered and complex meanings that unfolded in our close reading.  Many commented on whether the opening question posed in the poem was one of amicable invitation, incensed demand, or a timid plea, or perhaps some mix of those emotions and motivations.  

As we explored the lines and phrases further, some found themselves drawn into the absence of capitalization, sharing that this artistic choice could signal Clifton’s attempt to “flatten” the dominant and oppressive voices that may have disregarded or excluded her perspective in the past.  Others engaged with the imagery in the poem and considered the relevance of “starshine and clay” as places to be caught between.  We also questioned how “one hand holding tight to my other hand” could be an action of self-care and support, or a description of praying in desperation, or a self-restraint to prevent lashing out at repeated perpetrators of injustice.

In writing to the prompt, “Write about the bridges you travel on”, many shared thoughts about where their particular journey over a metaphorical bridge had led them to and the direction through time it had taken them in.  More than one participant opened our minds to the possibilities of considering the bridge as a three dimensional space, writing about who and what may exist underneath, above, and alongside our bridges.  As always, we were grateful to have so many responses shared and to witness the genuine admiration participants expressed to one another about their work and the connections their writing revealed back to the original text.

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Please join us for our next session Saturday, May 23rd at 2pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Won’t You Celebrate With Me 
by Lucille Clifton 

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Lucille Clifton, “won’t you celebrate with me” from Book of Light. Copyright © 1993 by Lucille Clifton.