Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT April 29th 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read a poem Some Feel Rain by Joanna Klink, posted below. 

Our prompt was: “Write about a time of wonder.

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

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.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Monday May 2nd at 6pm EDT,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Some Feel Rain by Joanna Klink

Some feel rain. Some feel the beetle startle
in its ghost-part when the bark
slips. Some feel musk. Asleep against
each other in the whiskey dark, scarcely there.
When it falls apart, some feel the moondark air
drop its motes to the patch-thick slopes of
snow. Tiny blinkings of ice from the oak,
a boot-beat that comes and goes, the line of prayer
you can follow from the dusking wind to the snowy owl
it carries. Some feel sunlight
well up in blood-vessels below the skin
and wish there had been less to lose.
Knowing how it could have been, pale maples
drowsing like a second sleep above our temperaments.
Do I imagine there is any place so safe it can’t be
snapped? Some feel the rivers shift,
blue veins through soil, as if the smokestacks were a long
dream of exhalation. The lynx lets its paws
skim the ground in snow and showers.
The wildflowers scatter in warm tints until
the second they are plucked. You can wait
to scrape the ankle-burrs, you can wait until Mercury
the early star underdraws the night and its blackest
districts. And wonder. Why others feel
through coal-thick night that deeply colored garnet
star. Why sparring and pins are all you have.
Why the earth cannot make its way towards you.

Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT April 25th 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read a poem The Silence of Plants by Wislawa Szymborska, posted below. 

Our prompt was: “Write about a question that has never been asked or answered.

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

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.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Friday April 29th at 12pm EDT,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


The Silence of Plants by Wislawa Szymborska

The Silence of Plants

A one-sided relationship is developing quite well between you and me.
I know what a leaf, petal, kernel, cone, and stem are,
and I know what happens to you in April and December.

Though my curiosity is unrequited,
I gladly stoop for some of you, 
and for others I crane my neck.

I have names for you:
maple, burdock, liverwort,
eather, juniper, mistletoe, and forget-me-not;
but you have none for me.

After all, we share a common journey.
When traveling together, it’s normal to talk,
exchanging remarks, say, about the weather,
or about the stations flashing past.

We wouldn’t run out of topics 
for so much connects us.
The same star keeps us in reach.
We cast shadows according to the same laws.
Both of us at least try to know something, 
each in our own way,
and even in what we don’t know 
there lies a resemblance.

Just ask and I will explain as best I can:
what it is to see through my eyes,
why my heart beats,
and how come my body is unrooted.

But how does someone answer questions 
which have never been posed,
and when, on top of that
the one who would answer 
is such an utter nobody to you?

Undergrowth, shrubbery, 
meadows, and rushes…
everything I say to you is a monologue,
and it is not you who’s listening.

A conversation with you is necessary 
and impossible,
urgent in a hurried life
and postponed for never.


Encuentros virtuales en vivo: Sábado 23 de Abril, 13:00 EDT

El pintura que escogimos para hoy fue La Persistencia de la Memoria, Por Salvador Dali, 1931.

La propuesta de escritura fue Escribe sobre el tiempo.

Aquí, ahora alentamos a los participantes que si así lo desean, compartan lo que escribieron a continuación. Deja tu respuesta aquí, si deseas continuar la conversación. Pero antes, les recomendamos tener en cuenta que el blog es un espacio público donde, por supuesto, no se garantiza la confidencialidad.

Por favor, únase a nosotros en nuestra próxima sesión en español: El sábado 7 de mayo a las 13 hrs. o a la 1 pm EDT. También, ofrecemos sesiones en inglés. Ve a nuestra página de sesiones grupales virtuales en vivo.


La Persistencia de la Memoria, Por Salvador Dali, 1931


Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT April 22nd 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read a novel excerpt from  The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, posted below. 

Our prompt was: “Write about the rhythm of home.”

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

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.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Monday April 25th at 6pm EDT,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

Home was a cot in one of their bunkhouses at the Fair Ranch in Yolo. Home was a long tent beneath a leafy plum tree at Kettleman’s. Home was a wooden shanty in Camp No. 7 on the Barnhart Tract out in Lodi. Nothing but onions as far as the eye can see. Home was a bed of straw in John Lyman’s barn alongside his prize horses and cows. Home was a corner of the washhouse at Stockton’s Cannery Ranch. Home was a bunk in a rusty boxcar in Lompoc. Home was an old chicken coop in Willows that the Chinese had lived in before us. Home was a flea-ridden mattress in a corner of a packing shed in Dixon. Home was a bed of hay atop three apple crates beneath an apple tree in Fred Stadelman’s apple orchard. Home was a spot on a floor of an abandoned schoolhouse in Marysville. Home was a patch of earth in a pear orchard in Auburn not far from the banks of the American River, where we lay awake every evening staring up at the American stars, which looked no different from ours: there, up above us, was the Cowherd Start, the Water Star. “Same latitude,” our husbands explained. Home was wherever the crops were ripe and ready for picking. Home was wherever our husbands were. Home was by the side of a man who had been shoveling up weeds for the boss for years.


Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT April 20th 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read a poem What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use by Ada Limon, posted below. 

Our prompt was: “Write about a word you have refused to use.” 

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

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.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Friday April 22nd at 12pm EDT,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use by Ada Limon

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the 
     bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in 
     use.
You say they look like arks after the sea’s
dried up, I say they look like pirate ships,
and I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don’t believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood 
     there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish 
     moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our 
     pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.
So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could 
     name
though we knew they were really just clouds—
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.

Poem copyright ©2012 by Ada Limón


 

Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT April 15th 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read an excerpt from Words are Birds by Francisco X. Alarcóny, posted below. 

Our prompt was: Write about words without borders.”

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

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.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Wednesday April 20th at 12pm EDT,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

Words are Birds by Francisco X. Alarcóny

words
are birds
that arrive
with books
and spring
 
they
love
clouds
the wind
and trees
 
some words
are messengers
that come
from far away
from distant lands
 
for them
there are
no borders
only stars
moon and sun
 
some words
are familiar
like canaries
others are exotic
like the quetzal bird
 
some can stand
the cold
others migrate
with the sun
to the south
 
some words
die
caged—
they're difficult
to translate
 
and others
build nests
have chicks
warm them
feed them
 
teach them
how to fly
and one day
they go away
in flocks
 
the letters
on this page
are the prints
they leave
by the sea

Source: Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems (Lee & Low Books, 1997)

Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT April 4th 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read an excerpt from Why I Am Not A Painter by Frank O’Hara, posted below. 

Our prompt was: “Write or draw about orange.”

More details will be posted on this session, so check back again!

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.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Friday April 15th at 12pm EDT,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Why I Am Not A Painter by Frank O’Hara

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.

Copyright © 2008 by Maureen Granville-Smith

See prompt drawing responses from our session below!

by Rita Basuray

by Soren Glassing

Encuentros virtuales en vivo: Sábado 2 de Abril , 13:00 EDT

Nos acompañaran cinco participantes desde Nueva York, España, y Jerusalén.

El texto que escogimos para hoy fue “HOMBRES por León Felipe.” El poema se leyó dos veces y después tuvimos un rico debate con diferentes interpretaciones del mensaje del poema.

El titulo es la primera palabra en letras. Mayúsculas. Lo primero que notamos fue el uso de las letras mayúsculas del título—esto llamó la atención a varias participantes. Pero después de leer todo el poema y entender el significado del poema, el crear una torre de humanos, sí gustó el uso de mayúsculas.

También notamos las contradicciones: hay unos sobre otros y otros al lado de los otros. Varias participantes notaron que el poema es una descripción de los Castelleres. Para poder hacer un Casteller es necesario tener este tipo de solidaridad y unidad.

El uso del lenguaje y la repetición parece un trabalenguas, pero llegamos a algo concreto en el poema. En el debate, también hablamos de que uno puede leer este poema de una perspectiva pesimista o optimista. Se notó que hoy en día lo más probable se hubiera escrito “HUMANO,” no “HOMBRE” para ser más inclusivo. Y últimamente que es obvio que hay dos diferentes partes del poema; la primera parte no se parece a las dos últimas líneas. Parece que el poeta anhela algo, que un día no haya estrellas lejanas ni horizontes perdidos. Eso solo pasa si tenemos hombros sobre hombros.

La propuesta de escritura fue “Aquel hombro… (continúa tú la historia).” Muchas participantes escribieron sobre mujeres (madres o mujeres importantes en nuestras vidas), otra persona sobre las imagines de la guerra, y otra sobre su padre. Tuvimos contradicciones, pero todos fueron en la sombra del texto.

Aquí, ahora alentamos a los participantes que si así lo desean, compartan lo que escribieron a continuación. Deja tu respuesta aquí, si deseas continuar la conversación sobre el poema de León Felipe. Pero antes, les recomendamos tener en cuenta que el blog es un espacio público donde, por supuesto, no se garantiza la confidencialidad.

Aquí, ahora alentamos a los participantes que si así lo desean, compartan lo que escribieron a continuación. Deja tu respuesta aquí, si deseas continuar la conversación. Pero antes, les recomendamos tener en cuenta que el blog es un espacio público donde, por supuesto, no se garantiza la confidencialidad.

Por favor, únase a nosotros en nuestra próxima sesión en español: El sábado 23 de abril a las 13 hrs. o a la 1 pm EST. También, ofrecemos sesiones en inglés. Ve a nuestra página de sesiones grupales virtuales en vivo.

¡Esperamos verte pronto!

HOMBRES Por: León Felipe

sobre hombros
de otros hombres;
Hombres
con hombros
para otros hombres;
Hombros,
Hombres,
Hombros. . .
Torres.
Un día ya no habrá estrellas lejanas
ni perdidos horizontes.