Encuentros virtuales en vivo: Sábado 16 de octubre, 13:00 EST (17:00 UTC)

Hicimos una lectura atenta de la obra de Luci Gutiérrez, “El Mundo, Campus” de 2008 y “ONCE, cubierta de libro” de 2009.

Escribe sobre un símbolo que muestra (u oculta) tu rostro.

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 Claribel Alegría. 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 6 de noviembre a las 13 hrs. o a la 1 pm EST (hora de Nueva York). También, ofrecemos sesiones en inglés. Ve a  nuestra página de sesiones grupales virtuales en vivo.

¡Esperamos verte pronto!



Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT October 16th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close-read the poem the “A Portable Paradise” by Roger Robinson, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “My paradise…”

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

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 October 18th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


A Portable Paradise - by Roger Robinson

And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.

Live Virtual Group Session: 1PM EDT October 13th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we closely viewed photographs from the “Kitchen Table Series” by Carrie Mae Weems, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “What brings you to the table?”

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

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 Saturday October 16th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


“Kitchen Table Series” by Carrie Mae Weems
“Kitchen Table Series” by Carrie Mae Weems
“Kitchen Table Series” by Carrie Mae Weems
“Kitchen Table Series” by Carrie Mae Weems
“Kitchen Table Series” by Carrie Mae Weems


Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT October 11th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close read “Manhattan is a Lenape Word” by Natalie Diaz, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write about where you are.”

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

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 October 13th at 1pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


“Manhattan is a Lenape Word” by Natalie Diaz


It is December and we must be brave.

The ambulance’s rose of light
blooming against the window.
Its single siren-cry: Help me.
A silk-red shadow unbolting like water
through the orchard of her thigh.

Her, come—in the green night, a lion.
I sleep her bees with my mouth of smoke,
dip honey with my hands stung sweet
on the darksome hive.
Out of the eater I eat. Meaning,
She is mine, colony.

The things I know aren’t easy:
I’m the only Native American
on the 8th floor of this hotel or any,
looking out any window
of a turn-of-the-century building
in Manhattan.

Manhattan is a Lenape word.
Even a watch must be wound.
How can a century or a heart turn
if nobody asks, Where have all
the natives gone?

If you are where you are, then where
are those who are not here? Not here.
Which is why in this city I have
many lovers. All my loves
are reparations loves.

What is loneliness if not unimaginable
light and measured in lumens—
an electric bill which must be paid,
a taxi cab floating across three lanes
with its lamp lit, gold in wanting.
At 2 a.m. everyone in New York City
is empty and asking for someone.

Again, the siren’s same wide note:
Help me. Meaning, I have a gift
and it is my body, made two-handed
of gods and bronze.

She says, You make me feel
like lightning. I say, I don’t ever
want to make you feel that white.
It’s too late—I can’t stop seeing
her bones. I’m counting the carpals,
metacarpals of her hand inside me.

One bone, the lunate bone, is named
for its crescent outline. Lunatus. Luna.
Some nights she rises like that in me,
like trouble—a slow luminous flux.

The streetlamp beckons the lonely
coyote wandering West 29th Street
by offering its long wrist of light.
The coyote answers by lifting its head
and crying stars.

Somewhere far from New York City,
an American drone finds then loves
a body—the radiant nectar it seeks
through great darkness—makes
a candle-hour of it, and burns
gently along it, like American touch,
an unbearable heat.

The siren song returns in me,
I sing it across her throat: Am I
what I love? Is this the glittering world
I’ve been begging for?



From Postcolonial Love Poem (Graywolf Press, 2020) by Natalie Diaz. 
Copyright © 2020 by Natalie Diaz.

Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT October 6th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close read “Equinox” by Elizabeth Alexander, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “There is no other way to say…”

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

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 October 11th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


“Equinox” by Elizabeth Alexander

Now is the time of year when bees are wild 
and eccentric. They fly fast and in cramped 
loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants 
in the bright, late-September out-of-doors. 
I have found their dried husks in my clothes. 

They are dervishes because they are dying, 
one last sting, a warm place to squeeze 
a drop of venom or of honey. 
After the stroke we thought would be her last 
my grandmother came back, reared back and slapped 

a nurse across the face. Then she stood up, 
walked outside, and lay down in the snow. 
Two years later there is no other way 
to say, we are waiting. She is silent, light 
as an empty hive, and she is breathing.



From Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010. 
Copyright © 2010 by Elizabeth Alexander.

Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT October 4th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close read “Public Transportation” by Elaine Sexton, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was in two parts. First we wrote to “Write about the person others think you are. Then we wrote to “Write about what others don’t see or know.”

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

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 October 6th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


“Public Transportation” by Elaine Sexton

She is perfectly ordinary, a cashmere scarf
snugly wrapped around her neck. She is
a middle age that is crisp, appealing in New York.
She is a brain surgeon or a designer of blowdryers.
I know this because I am in her skin this morning
riding the bus, happy to be not young, happy to be
thrilled that it is cold and I have a warm hat on.
Everyone is someone other than you think
under her skin. The driver does not have
a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his metal 
lunchbox. He has caviar left over from New Year's
and a love note from his mistress, whom he just left
on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 14th Street.
When she steps off his bus to take over the wheel
of the crosstown No. 8, she knows she is anything
but ordinary. She climbs under the safety bar
and straps the belt on over her seat. She lets
the old lady who is rich but looks poor take her time
getting on. She lets the mugger who looks like
a parish priest help her. She waits as we sit, quiet 
in our private, gorgeous lives.



From Sleuth by Elaine Sexton. 
Copyright © 2003 by Elaine Sexton. 

Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT September 29th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close read “in lieu of a poem, i’d like to say” by Danez Smith, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was “Write about what begins at the end of your name.”

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

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 October 4th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


“in lieu of a poem, i’d like to say” by Danez Smith

apricots & brown teeth in browner mouths nashing dates & a clementine’s underflesh under yellow nail & dates like auntie heads & the first time someone dried mango there was god & grandma’s Sunday only song & how the plums are better as plums dammit & i was wrong & a June’s worth of moons & the kiss stain of the berries & lord the prunes & the miracle of other people’s lives & none of my business & our hands sticky and a good empty & please please pass the bowl around again & the question of dried or ripe & the sex of grapes & too many dates & us us us us us & varied are the feast but so same the sound of love gorged & the women in the Y hijab a lily in the water & all of us who come from people who signed with x’s & yesterday made delicacy in the wrinkle of the fruit & at the end of my name begins the lot of us


Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT September 27th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close read an excerpt from Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno,” Vol 1, Canto 1, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was in two parts. First we wrote to “Write about a dark forest.” And then to: “Write about a way out of the dark forest.

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

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 September 29th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


An excerpt from Dante Alighieri’s "Inferno," Vol 1, Canto 1

Midway upon the journey of our life
  I found myself within a forest dark,
  For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
  What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
  Which in the very thought renews the fear.

So bitter is it, death is little more;
  But of the good to treat, which there I found,
  Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
  So full was I of slumber at the moment
  In which I had abandoned the true way.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.

Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!

Tant' è amara che poco è più morte;
ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai,
dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.

Io non so ben ridir com' i' v'intrai,
tant' era pien di sonno a quel punto
che la verace via abbandonai.

Encuentros virtuales en vivo: Sábado 25 de septiembre, 13:00 EST (17:00 UTC)

Asistieron 10 participantes representando a los países de Argentina, Colombia, España, y Estados Unidos. El texto elegido fue “Carta al Tiempo” de la poeta nicaragüeña Claribel Alegría. 

La discusión miro como la relación con el tiempo cambio para la poeta mientras el poema y el tiempo pasa. Un participante noto que al final del poema, uno, al igual que la poeta, ya se imagina lo que va a venir (la muerte). Otro participante contribuyo que el uso del tiempo en el poema es una alegoría. Primero anhelamos todas las etapas que pasamos los seres humanos porque estamos enfocados en los cumpleaños desde que estamos de niños, pensamos en los regalos. Y después el tiempo se convierto en un enemigo. Eventualmente caemos en cuenta que el tiempo va a ganar.

Analizando al poema, vemos que hay un interlocutor imaginario a quien la poeta le hable en el poema. Hay un juego del paso del tiempo. Considerando “el otro” se considero si la poeta tenia en mente otra persona o la muerte. ¿Quien es este “otro”?

Considerando a quien la carta esta dirigida, algunos pensábamos que era al tiempo y otros a algo mas abstracto, algo traumático. ¿Por ejemplo, que quiere decir la poeta con, ¨Hace años que amo a otro¨ y “¿El amigo de mi padre”? ¿Será que Claribel esta hablando de acoso sexual? De pronto la carta es dirigida a una persona quien le causo acoso sexual a la poeta.

Una participante noto que el poema usa personificación—es decir, la poeta despersonaliza la carta porque no puede controlar el tiempo, pero si la transforma en una persona, puede tratar de controlarla. “Aunque el tiempo esta siempre conmigo, no estoy consiente que esta siempre conmigo.”

No queríamos parar el debate, pero al fin llego el tiempo de escribir. Los participantes tuvieron dos opciones de consignas: “Escríbele una carta a un visitante inoportuno o no deseado,” o “Escribe tu carta al tiempo.” Escribimos por cuatro minutos. Después invitamos a los participantes a leer lo que habían escrito sin preocuparse de tener que producir un texto literario. Como metodología de la medicina narrativa, el comentario sobre los textos de los participantes se enfoca no sólo en el contenido sino especialmente en la forma y estilo de los textos. La propuesta de escritura produjo textos irónicos y otros en la sombra del texto. Alguien escribió una carta de apreciación al tiempo, como una alabanza—el opuesto de lo acabamos de leer. Fue muy divertido escuchar lo que habían escrito los participantes en tan poco 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 sobre el poema de Claribel Alegría. 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 16 de octubre a las 13 hrs. o a la 1 pm EST (hora de Nueva York). También, ofrecemos sesiones en inglés. Ve a  nuestra página de sesiones grupales virtuales en vivo.

¡Esperamos verte pronto!


Carta al Tiempo por Claribel Alegría

Estimado señor:
Esta carta la escribo en mi cumpleaños.
Recibí su regalo. No me gusta.
Siempre y siempre lo mismo.
Cuando niña, impaciente lo esperaba;
me vestía de fiesta
y salía a la calle a pregonarlo.
No sea usted tenaz.
Todavía lo veo
jugando ajedrez con el abuelo.
Al principio eran sueltas sus visitas;
se volvieron muy pronto cotidianas
y la voz del abuelo
fue perdiendo su brillo.
Y usted insistía
y no respetaba la humildad
de su carácter dulce
y sus zapatos.
Después me cortejaba.
Era yo adolescente
y usted con ese rostro que no cambia.

Amigo de mi padre
para ganarme a mí.
Pobrecito el abuelo.
En su lecho de muerte
estaba usted presente,
esperando el final.
Un aire insospechado
flotaba entre los muebles
Parecían más blancas las paredes.
Y había alguien más,
usted le hacía señas.
El le cerró los ojos al abuelo
y se detuvo un rato a contemplarme
Le prohibo que vuelva.
Cada vez que los veo
me recorre las vértebras el frío.
No me persiga más,
se lo suplico.
Hace años que amo a otro
y ya no me interesan sus ofrendas.
¿Por qué me espera siempre en las vitrinas,
en la boca del sueño,
bajo el cielo indeciso del domingo?

Sabe a cuarto cerrado su saludo.
Lo he visto con los niños.
Reconocí su traje:
el mismo tweed de entonces
cuando era yo estudiante
y usted amigo de mi padre.
Su ridículo traje de entretiempo.
No vuelva,
le repito.
No se detenga más en mi jardín.
Se asustarán los niños
y las hojas se caen:
las he visto.
¿De qué sirve todo esto?
Se va a reír un rato
con esa risa eterna
y seguirá saliéndome al encuentro.
Los niños,
mi rostro,
las hojas,
todo extraviado en sus pupilas.
Ganará sin remedio.
Al comenzar mi carta lo sabía.Estimado señor:
Esta carta la escribo en mi cumpleaños.
Recibí su regalo. No me gusta.
Siempre y siempre lo mismo.
Cuando niña, impaciente lo esperaba;
me vestía de fiesta
y salía a la calle a pregonarlo.
No sea usted tenaz.
Todavía lo veo
jugando ajedrez con el abuelo.
Al principio eran sueltas sus visitas;
se volvieron muy pronto cotidianas
y la voz del abuelo
fue perdiendo su brillo.
Y usted insistía
y no respetaba la humildad
de su carácter dulce
y sus zapatos.
Después me cortejaba.
Era yo adolescente
y usted con ese rostro que no cambia.
Amigo de mi padre
para ganarme a mí.
Pobrecito el abuelo.
En su lecho de muerte
estaba usted presente,
esperando el final.
Un aire insospechado
flotaba entre los muebles
Parecían más blancas las paredes.
Y había alguien más,
usted le hacía señas.
El le cerró los ojos al abuelo
y se detuvo un rato a contemplarme
Le prohibo que vuelva.
Cada vez que los veo
me recorre las vértebras el frío.
No me persiga más,
se lo suplico.
Hace años que amo a otro
y ya no me interesan sus ofrendas.
¿Por qué me espera siempre en las vitrinas,
en la boca del sueño,
bajo el cielo indeciso del domingo?
Sabe a cuarto cerrado su saludo.
Lo he visto con los niños.
Reconocí su traje:
el mismo tweed de entonces
cuando era yo estudiante
y usted amigo de mi padre.
Su ridículo traje de entretiempo.
No vuelva,
le repito.
No se detenga más en mi jardín.
Se asustarán los niños
y las hojas se caen:
las he visto.
¿De qué sirve todo esto?
Se va a reír un rato
con esa risa eterna
y seguirá saliéndome al encuentro.
Los niños,
mi rostro,
las hojas,
todo extraviado en sus pupilas.
Ganará sin remedio.
Al comenzar mi carta lo sabía.

 

Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT September 24th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close read “Investigation of Poverty at the Russell Sage Foundation” by Alice Neel, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write about being judged or having to explain yourself.

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

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 September 27th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Investigation of Poverty at the Russell Sage Foundation, Alice Neel, 1933