Make some room for yourself, human animal.

This fall, I worked on a Personal Canon project with my Poetry Immersion students, in which we gathered the texts, inspirations, and influences that have shaped our progress, and informed our aesthetic and point of view, over the years. Connecting to one’s artistic lineage has a way of empowering future work.  And also informs future research and offerings. In the process, I’ve revisited many poems that I’ve loved over the years, including this one, by a 20th-century Polish writer in translation:


Demand it Courageously

by Julia Hartwig


Make some room for yourself, human animal.

   Even a dog jostles about on his master’s lap to

improve his position. And when he needs space he

runs forward, without paying attention to commands

or calls.

   If you didn’t manage to receive freedom as a gift,

demand it as courageously as bread and meat.

   Make some room for yourself, human pride and


   The Czech writer Hrabal said:

   I have as much freedom as I take.


I wish I could remember where I first came across this poem because I would provide the source for you.


The 2018 session of A Secret Life begins in just three weeks, on the Winter Solstice. I have only a few spots left if you’d’ like to participate. We’ll use this time to cultivate a private space, out of view of others, in which to dream up a project that we’d like to manifest during the coming year. This offering provides contemplative writing prompts and other creative exercises, a chance to meet up with other creative folks (not just writers!) via webinar, and a 1×1 coaching session with me. We’ll bring a close to this year, and give our attention to what we might create in 2019.

Personally, I’ll use this time and structure to go through my 2018 notebooks, transcribing anything that I haven’t already worked up into a poem, essay, writing assignment, or public offering of whatever kind. Then my annual manuscript incubator, A Body of Work, begins at the end of January, so I can look forward to revising the poems that have the most potential, into a short collection. As I write this I’m getting excited to see what emerges during the next two months! Want to join me?

More info about A Secret Life 

More about A Body of Work


Both of these courses will help you to make space and direct your attention toward creative projects and processes that matter to you, regardless of whether they involve a public dimension. Get in touch if you want to discuss whether this is the right thing, at the right time, for you.


poetry matters. join the conversation.

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poetry matters. join the conversation.

join my community