This Place Could Be Beautiful

I’ve been thinking about beauty and empathy and how we must cultivate these qualities and ways of being in order to take better care of ourselves, each other, and our suffering world.
And I’m thinking about this poem, “Good Bones,” by Maggie Smith, and how by chance, it connected with perhaps millions of readers via the simple act of sharing on social media, after the Orlando shootings. We need poems to help us understand and think and feel and grieve. We need to write them, read them, and share them:

This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.

—Maggie Smith

Photo by Garry Simpson

* * *
I know it’s summer. The green-blue-glistening world opens its arms and we fall into it–swimming, hiking, playing, and stretching the long days to make them longer, to make them last.
It can be hard to write under such circumstances, especially when we still work full-time, still need to look after our children and others. And yet some of us must find a way to write no matter what. It’s how we make sense of our experiences, and it’s how we savor and attend what matters most. Writing is a way of giving form to the fast-moving, the slow moving, and even the ineffable elements of life. An art practice is a way of being alive and to put it aside for too long is to dull or ignore something important. It can feel like we’re missing what we most need and want to attend to with our fullest presence.
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If you would like to make time and space for your writing in the next eight weeks, please consider joining me for Summer Poetry Apprenticeship program. I’ve created the structure and will provide you with brief weekly readings and prompts to help you build a discipline and generate new work by writing in a regular way. You’ll also have the option to conference with me privately via phone or video chat, and I always offer feedback on work in progress. We begin Friday and go until August 19th. Enroll here.
“The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It is the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch onto things.” —John Cage
If you live in western Massachusetts, I’m teaching a two-part generative writing workshop at IS183 during July:
 
And later this summer, I’ll be back in Michigan for two more face-to-face workshops:
Field Notes: Writing in the Natural World on August 18, within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Glen Arbor, MI.
Small Pages: Collage and Writing as Contemplative Practice on August 20, at the Carol C Spaulding Gallery/Studio near Glen Lake, MI.
Merwin Summer App 2016
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