Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT July 26th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

Our text for this session was the poem Dead Stars by Ada Limón, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write/list demands to launch into the sky.”

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 Friday July 30th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Dead Stars by Ada Limón

Out here, there’s a bowing even the trees are doing.
                 Winter’s icy hand at the back of all of us.
Black bark, slick yellow leaves, a kind of stillness that feels
so mute it’s almost in another year.

I am a hearth of spiders these days: a nest of trying.

We point out the stars that make Orion as we take out
       the trash, the rolling containers a song of suburban thunder.

It’s almost romantic as we adjust the waxy blue
       recycling bin until you say, Man, we should really learn
some new constellations.

And it’s true. We keep forgetting about Antlia, Centaurus,
       Draco, Lacerta, Hydra, Lyra, Lynx.

But mostly we’re forgetting we’re dead stars too, my mouth is full
       of dust and I wish to reclaim the rising—

to lean in the spotlight of streetlight with you, toward
       what’s larger within us, toward how we were born.

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
       We’ve come this far, survived this much. What

would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
     No, to the rising tides.

Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain

for the safety of others, for earth,
                 if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,

if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves so big
people could point to us with the arrows they make in their minds,

rolling their trash bins out, after all of this is over?

Encuentros virtuales en vivo: Sábado 24 de Julio, 13:00 EST (17:00 UTC)

Asistieron 5 participantes representando a los países de Argentina, Colombia, España, Estados Unidos y Uruguay. El texto elegido fue “Sé todos los cuentos” del poeta español León Felipe. 

La discusión se centró en el significado de la palabra “cuento”. En español, la palabra “cuento” se puede entender en el sentido de narrativa y discurso social por un lado y en el sentido cultural de “embuste” o “engaño” por otro. Al principio, la mayoría de los participantes le dieron este último sentido, como si el poeta se quejara de haber sido “engañado” toda su vida con los cuentos y retórica de la sociedad. En esta interpretación, la palabra “cuentos” tenía la función de “controlar” o “reprimir una rebelión social” dijo una participante. Los participantes que hicieron esta observación se basaron en el contexto histórico en que fue escrito el poema. 

Sin embargo, otra participante nos dio una perspectiva diferente. Ella notó que para desmentir el impacto del engaño social de los “cuentos”, el poeta escribe su propia narrativa de vida donde lo más valorado es su experiencia de vida. De esta manera, el poeta afirma su experiencia subjetiva como fuente de conocimiento. Pero, paradójicamente, para establecer su  valoración subjetiva, el poeta necesita hacerlo  escribiendo su propio cuento, es decir su propia narrativa de vida: “Yo no sé muchas cosas es verdad. Digo tan sólo lo que he visto. Y he visto que …”  La nueva interpretación de esta participante nos enriqueció a todos, ya que no habíamos pensado antes que el poema estuviera construido como un cuento dentro de otro cuento, como un mandala, o como  las famosas “muñecas rusas” (en dónde una muñeca contiene a la otra),  según observó otra participante.

Después de este intercambio productivo, escribimos por cinco minutos según la consigna en base al poema. La consigna fue “Escribe sobre ese cuento o historia que tú creías o pretendías conocer.” Luego, invitamos a los participantes  a leer exactamente 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 consigna motivó a los participantes a hacer asociaciones tanto sobre sus vidas personales como sus vidas profesionales. De los textos escritos por los participantes surgieron reflexiones acerca de cómo los cuentos, en el sentido de prejuicios sociales, pueden comprometer la asistencia de salud a ciertas personas a quienes se estigmatiza por su apariencia física o su comportamiento. Finalmente los participantes reflexionaron sobre el hecho de que los textos siempre están abiertos a nuevas interpretaciones porque es imposible cubrir todas las interpretaciones. Por eso es necesario estar conscientes de que al hacer una interpretación, si bien estamos favoreciendo una idea también estamos oscureciendo otra. 

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.

Por favor, únase a nosotros en nuestra próxima sesión en español: El sábado 14 de agosto 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!


Sé todos los cuentos, por León Felipe

Yo no sé muchas cosas, es verdad.
Digo tan sólo lo que he visto.
Y he visto:
Que la cuna del hombre la mecen con cuentos,
que los gritos de angustia del hombre los ahogan
con cuentos,
que el llanto del hombre lo taponan con cuentos,
que los huesos del hombre los entierran con 
cuentos,
y que el miedo del hombre...
ha inventado los cuentos.
Yo no sé muchas cosas, es verdad,
pero me han dormido con todos los cuentos...
y sé todos los cuentos. 

Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT July 21st 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

Our text for this session was the poem Everything We Left Behind by Manasi Garg, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write about shedding the years”

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 July 26th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Everything We Left Behind by Manasi Garg

In my dreams, my grandmother and I are 
bodies of fat and light and we clasp our hands so 
tightly that even God knows to cry. I am in love
with her and her marbled flesh. We walk through her first home.
Cursed city. I watch her shed the years, watch them whisper into the clouds 
like linens drying under the hot sun. Here is her house that burned down. 
Here is the temple next to the fruit orchard. Here is where the 
neighbors threw rocks. She was only 11 when 
the world ended. Pakistan, 1947. She tells me the men would rather
drown their daughters than let them be taken. 
I picture a thousand Ophelias: the white dresses billowing,
the river water scything their breathless skin in rivulets, their heads
bobbing up and down Ravi River like a string of pearls. 
I wonder if they filled their pockets with stones or if they just accepted
the darkness, the finality of it all: if they wanted it, if it felt like a
mother’s womb, if they were aching to return home. 

Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT July 19th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we watched an excerpt from the stand-up comedy special Douglas by Hannah Gadsby, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was a choice between: “Write about your relationship to the box OR “Write about missing the memo.”

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 July 21st at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.



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

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

Our text for this session was an excerpt from Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “This can be tricky…

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 July 19th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Excerpt from Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Here is how to schnell.

Here is how to go through your normal adolescent growth spurt and have every limb in your body ache like a migraine because selected groups of muscles have been worked until thick and intensile, and they resist as the sudden growth of bone tries to stretch them, and they ache all the time. There is medication for this condition.

If you are an adolescent, here is the trick to being neither quite a nerd nor quite a jock: be no one.

It is easier than you think.

Here is how to read the monthly E.T.A. and U.S.T.A. and O.N.A.N.T.A. rankings the way Himself read scholars’ reviews of his multiple-exposure melodramas. Learn to care and not to care. They mean the rankings to help you determine where you are, not who you are. Memorize your monthly rankings, and forget them. Here is how: never tell anyone where you are.

This is also how not to fear sleep or dreams. Never tell anyone where you are. Please learn the pragmatics of expressing fear: sometimes words that seem to express really invoke.

This can be tricky.

Here is how to get free sticks and strings and clothes and gear from Dunlop, Inc. as long as you let them spraypaint the distinctive Dunlop logo on your sticks’ strings and sew logos on your shoulder and the left pocket of your shorts and use a Dunlop gear-bag, and you become a walking lunging sweating advertisement for Dunlop, Inc.; this is all as long as you keep justifying your seed and preserving your rank; the Dunlop, Inc. New New England Regional Athletic Rep will address you as ‘Our gray swan’; he wears designer slacks and choking cologne and about twice a year wants to help you dress and has to be slapped like a gnat.

Be a Student of the Game. Like most clichés of sport, this is profound. You can be shaped, or you can be broken. There is not much in between. Try to learn. Be coachable. Try to learn from everybody, especially those who fail. This is hard. Peers who fizzle or blow up or fall down, run away, disappear from the monthly rankings, drop off the circuit. E.T.A. peers waiting for deLint to knock quietly at their door and ask to chat. Opponents. It’s all educational. How promising you are as a Student of the Game is a function of what you can pay attention to without running away. Nets and fences can be mirrors. And between the nets and fences, opponents are also mirrors. This is why the whole thing is scary. This is why all opponents are scary and weaker opponents are especially scary.

See yourself in your opponents. They will bring you to understand the Game. To accept the fact that the Game is about managed fear. That its object is to send from yourself what you hope will not return.

This is your body. They want you to know. You will have it with you always.

On this issue there is no counsel; you must make your best guess. For myself, I do not expect ever really to know.

But in the interval, if it is an interval: here is Motrin for your joints, Noxzema for your burn, Lemon Pledge if you prefer nausea to burn, Contracol for your back, benzoin for your hands, Epsom salt and anti-inflammatories for your ankle, and extracurriculars for your folks, who just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss anything they got.


Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EDT July 14th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

Our text for this session was the poem Men at My Father’s Funeral by William Matthews, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write an elegy about someone lost.

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


Men at My Father’s Funeral
By William Matthews

The ones his age who shook my hand
on their way out sent fear along
my arm like heroin. These weren’t
men mute about their feelings,
or what’s a body language for?
 
And I, the glib one, who’d stood
with my back to my father’s body
and praised the heart that attacked him?
I’d made my stab at elegy,
the flesh made word: the very spit
 
in my mouth was sour with ruth
and eloquence. What could be worse?
Silence, the anthem of my father’s
new country. And thus this babble,
like a dial tone, from our bodies.


William Matthews, “Men at My Father’s Funeral” 
from Time and Money: New Poems. 
Copyright © 1995 by William Matthews.

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

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

Our text for this session was The Nobodies by Eduardo Galeano (translated by Cedric Belfrage), posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write about the dreams of the nobodies.”

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 July 14th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Los Nadies (Eduardo Galeano)
Sueñan las pulgas con comprarse un perro
y sueñan los nadies con salir de pobre,
que algún mágico día llueva de pronto la buena suerte,
que llueva a cántaros la buena suerte:
pero la buena suerte no llueve ayer,
ni hoy ni mañana ni nunca,
ni en llovizna cae del cielo la buena suerte,
por mucho que los nadies la llamen y aunque les pique
la mano izquierda,
o se levanten con el pie derecho,
o empiecen el año cambiando de escoba.
Los nadies:
los hijos de nadie, los dueños de nada.
Los nadies,
los ningunos, los ninguneados.
Corriendo las liebres, muriendo la vida, jodidos,
rejodidos:
Que no son, aunque sean.
Que no hablan idiomas sino dialectos.
Que no profesan religiones, sino supersticiones.
Que no hacen arte, sino artesanía.
Que no practican cultura, sino folclore.
Que no son seres humanos, sino recursos humanos.
Que no tienen cara, sino brazos.
Que no tienen nombre, sino número.
Que no figuran en la historia universal.
Sino en las páginas rojas de la prensa local.
Los nadies.
Que cuestan menos que la bala que los mata.


The Nobodies by Eduardo Galeano (translated by Cedric Belfrage)
Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on them–will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing.
The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way.

Who are not, but could be.
Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.
Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.
Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have faces, but arms.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.


Encuentros virtuales en vivo: Sábado 10 de JULIO, 13:00 EST (17:00 UTC)

Tuvimos una sesión muy intima y nos fue muy bien. Asistieron al grupo cinco participantes en total, representando a estados locales (incluyendo Nueva York y Nueva Jersey) y países internacionales (incluyendo España y Colombia).

Nuestro texto fue una fotografía de Andy Goldstein. Lo primero que notamos fue la ausencia de recursos que aparentemente tiene el señor en la fotografía. La persona no tiene una camisa y está descubierto. El esta en contraste de las imágenes de abajo que son muy planas. El enfoque de la fotografía es en el hombre porque él está en el centro. El color no es ni blanco ni negro ni sepia. La pared también está desnuda. Chatarra intenta en construir una barrera. ¿Será una puerta, pared, o ventana?

Se ve la pobreza, pero la pobreza tiene rostro. Alguien notó que parece que el hombre está en un piso y las mujeres en otros pisos. Como si ellas fueran las vecinas de él o algo de decoración. El hombre tiene un reloj o pulsera (algo que brilla). ¿Entonces de pronto no es tan pobre como pensábamos? La imagen tiene dignidad, como si el hombre estuviera diciendo, “Esto es lo que soy,” en contraste de lo que vemos en las redes sociales que ponemos nuestras mejores imágenes.

El mosquitero parece que enmarcara al señor. La mirada de él es de apertura. La persona también está mirando al fotógrafo y es obvio que no está incómodo. ¿Que es lo que el mira? ¿Cómo nos ve él a nosotros?

Escribir en grupo: Escribe sobre lo que ves desde la ventana.” También dimos una propuesta de alternativa, “Imagina lo que ve la gente en tu ventana.” Las respuestas fueron variadas, tanto en el tiempo narrativo, como el tema. Una participante notó que al escribir, esto le permitía pensar más y mejor sobre la foto. Al terminar de leer, los participantes leyeron en voz alta sus respectivos textos tal cual los habían escrito. Luego, cada uno compartió sus impresiones y observaciones sobre los textos de los compañeros. Así, el intercambio fue enriquecedor y ofreció diferentes puntos de vista. AQUÍ Hubo además comentarios y observaciones muy detalladas que generaron un buen intercambio. Sin duda, se hizo corto el tiempo!

Se alienta a los participantes a compartir lo que escribieron a continuación (“Deja una respuesta”) para mantener la conversación aquí. Les recomendamos tener en cuenta que el blog, por supuesto, es un espacio público donde no se garantiza la confidencialidad.

Por favor, únase a nosotros para nuestra próxima sesión en español: Sábado, 24 de julio a las 13:00 EST, con más veces listadas en inglés en nuestra página de sesiones grupales virtuales en vivo.

¡Esperamos verte pronto!



"RioIV PuertaPintada" ~ LAS SERIES: RIO CUARTO (1974), Andy Goldstein

Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT July 7th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session our text was the poem I Will Be My Mother’s Apprentice by Carmen Giménez Smith, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write about being the remedy or the anchor.”

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


I WILL BE MY MOTHER’S APPRENTICE

as if I were a hunger because
it is our bleak and common future
to reverse the sphinx. I study the meander
of her logic for context. Sometimes it is
like a poem that is not quite realized
filled with hollows and bursts,
a stranger’s grief and rage. She asks
for home when she’s home. She screams
for the purse we haven’t hidden from her.
Sometimes we circle the same spots,
and I try to be as I know she was with me
once: remedy and anchor. I’m a fair
to poor replica, yet still her proxy.

That you didn’t know her is your
misfortune: a hot planet’s core,
late summer’s best light. As metaphor
I evoke a pink, vulnerable jelly,
translucent and containing the past.
I hold it in my hand and against a lamp.
This is our intimacy now. My nails trace
the brown spots that mark her losses.
Beautiful and sad and strange, I say,
because I’ve made her into something else.

“I Will Be My Mother’s Apprentice,” from Be Recorder. 
Copyright © 2019 by Carmen Giménez Smith

Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT June 30th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session our text was the short story Girl by Jamaica Kincaid, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write a set of directions.”

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 July 7th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; don’t walk bare-head in the hot sun; cook pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil; soak your little cloths right after you take them off; when buying cotton to make yourself a nice blouse, be sure that it doesn’t have gum in it, because that way it won’t hold up well after a wash; soak salt fish overnight before you cook it; is it true that you sing benna in Sunday school?; always eat your food in such a way that it won’t turn someone else’s stomach; on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming; don’t sing benna in Sunday school; you mustn’t speak to wharf-rat boys, not even to give directions; don’t eat fruits on the street—flies will follow you; but I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school; this is how to sew on a button; this is how to make a buttonhole for the button you have just sewed on; this is how to hem a dress when you see the hem coming down and so to prevent yourself from looking like the slut I know you are so bent on becoming; this is how you iron your father’s khaki shirt so that it doesn’t have a crease; this is how you iron your father’s khaki pants so that they don’t have a crease; this is how you grow okra—far from the house, because okra tree harbors red ants; when you are growing dasheen, make sure it gets plenty of water or else it makes your throat itch when you are eating it; this is how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep a whole house; this is how you sweep a yard; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely; this is how you set a table for tea; this is how you set a table for dinner; this is how you set a table for dinner with an important guest; this is how you set a table for lunch; this is how you set a table for breakfast; this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well, and this way they won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming; be sure to wash every day, even if it is with your own spit; don’t squat down to play marbles—you are not a boy, you know; don’t pick people’s flowers—you might catch something; don’t throw stones at blackbirds, because it might not be a blackbird at all; this is how to make a bread pudding; this is how to make doukona; this is how to make pepper pot; this is how to make a good medicine for a cold; this is how to make a good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child; this is how to catch a fish; this is how to throw back a fish you don’t like, and that way something bad won’t fall on you; this is how to bully a man; this is how a man bullies you; this is how to love a man, and if this doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they don’t work don’t feel too bad about giving up; this is how to spit up in the air if you feel like it, and this is how to move quick so that it doesn’t fall on you; this is how to make ends meet; always squeeze bread to make sure it’s fresh; but what if the baker won’t let me feel the bread?; you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread?