Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Writing Your Way Home ... Again.



This is a photo from the retreat house in Mendham, New Jersey where I spent the weekend Writing My Way Home. Six of us came down from Massachusetts, avoiding the snow to spend time writing new poems. We had an amazing time, of course, just what I needed after the antics of the previous week.

Lead by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Laura Boss, 35 poets spent time in a workshop setting writing rapid-fire poetry. We had a large group this year. There were six workshops, three group readings, and plenty of chit-chat and snacks between sessions. This was my fourth time attending; now it's become a safe space where I know I will produce drafts that will turn into poems. It comes at the end of my semester, so the timing is perfect. Seems I have a lot to say at the end of the year. The accommodations are spartan. No distractions. Lots of time for thoughtful reflection. 

Maria and Laura encourage us to "go there." This is our opportunity to write poems that strike the emotional core. Maria calls it, "going into the cave." I went to the cave, beat the sh*t out of a few poems, and dragged them out. There's something about the quick turn and then having to share something completely unfinished that brings out the most surprising work. 

The snow on Saturday became just another element in our poems. By Sunday morning, the roads were completely clear. Most of us were spent; couldn't get another poem out of me by then end. I am grateful for the gift of time and space this retreat provides. Lots of camaraderie in a beautiful, peaceful setting. I miss it already.

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