August + Seven Reasons + Lake Poem
Happy almost August. Season of sun, mirages, lions, and the color yellow. I love this month (and even wrote a book with it’s name in the title), and what I love is the way August insists that we pay attention to what’s happening outside, in the natural, actual, living world. For me, this means swimming and picnics and using my porch as my office and sun on my skin, and the particular pleasure of air-dried sheets, and taking a family vacation to Michigan before it’s all over.
It also means poetry.
Even when I’m at my desk a lot less, and even when my mind has turned slow and sultry, and stopped being so aware of my deadlines and ambitions, I have poetry in me, and I want to write it and read it and hear it recited.
August still means making space for these things.
If you’re not sure where poetry fits into your August plans, here are some reasons I’ll be taking a little time each day from August 5-11, to create a space for those who realize that a perfect summer day can include swimming as well as time with a notebook and a few really good poems. Fact: You can mow the lawn and slow-read a poem by Ross Gay (and feel better about the whole situation because of it). You can devote yourself to your garden, and write about what you find there. You can be the one left at work while everyone else goes to the beach, and take back part of your day by reading poems in secret. (Rebel daily, I say.)
7 Reasons . . .
every man / every woman carries a firmament inside
& the stars in it are not the stars in the sky
w/out imagination there is no memory
w/out imagination there is no sensation
w/out imagination there is no will, desire
(Diane Di Prima, “Rant”)
We can let it be easy. There are ways to make writing easier than you may think that it is.
A word after a word
after a word is power.
A lake a pond an ocean a stream
after you’ve swum
in a poem:
The power of breathing (Epictetus)
while we sleep. Add:
to move the parts of the body
and to float
on a smooth green stream
in a silent boat
Writing is magic.
It is medicine.
A poem is a free space.
An autonomous zone.
There is no president there.
It is a wilderness if we want it.
More than once.
More than seven times
poetry has saved my life.
If you need to save even one small part of yourself, there is a poem, or a line or a poet that can do that for you. But you have to enter the arena. You have to take up the pen.
We begin Friday morning. This is an experiential, independent study for which you will be provided daily provocations, very brief readings, and existential support. You do not have to have previous experience. All I ask is that you are curious, hungry, ready to see what will happen.
Seven: New Writing Regimen
August 5-11, 2017
$75 per person
(why not bring a friend?)