It's like a switch has been turned back on, and I have been startled and delighted to find that the electricity is still flowing after so many years of living in the dark without writing, especially poetry. I've read every lesson, watched every video, and read every bit of writing posted in our sacred space here, most of each more than once, so all of you have played a big part in my awakening, and I thank you all so very deeply for showing up here and being brave along with me. Hearing poetry in my head again is like the best kind of healing music.
Paula Moritz, Spring 2012 participant
Poetry is a lifeline for me.
I think it could be one for you, too.
And I want to spend five weeks with you showing you why.
In all the Poem It Out ecourses, we explore the world of poetry from a place of wonder and healing. We look for poems that invite us to nod our heads and say, “Me too…me too.” We face the blank page and say, “Bring it” and write the words that are ready to burst out of us. We stop everything to Poem It Out.
Additionally, through weekly photography prompts, we use our cameras to ground ourselves throughout the class, and often what we find through the lens helps us find our way to a poem.
Fall 2012 Poem It Out Session :: (More) Poem It Out
Registration for (More) Poem It Out is now closed. The next session of Poem It Out will be in late winter/early spring.
Come along on A NEW POEM IT OUT ecourse with all new lessons, prompts, and videos. I'm calling it (More) Poem It Out and I hope you will join in! A few of the themes we will explore include following breadcrumbs to the stories that are waiting to be told within us, dipping our toes into the dichotomy of light and dark & shadows and colors, and diving into accessible writing prompts that will push us past the fear of the blank page and into the world of poetry.
Note: You don't have to take Poem It Out (my first poetry ecourse) to take (More) Poem It Out. This course is open to everyone.
(More) Poem It Out
Fall Dates: October 15 - November 16, 2012
Registration has begun! Read on for registration information.
Where & How: The five-week course is hosted on a private blog and private Flickr group.
New lessons are presented during the first four weeks, and the fifth week is a "Breathing Space" week that gives the community formed during the course an opportunity to continue to share the poems they are writing and other good things as the class winds down. New posts are shared every weekday (Monday through Friday) during all five weeks. Lessons are also sent by email so participants have access to the material after the course ends.
Although the material is presented over five weeks, participants are encouraged to work at their own pace, and the course will stay up for an additional two months after it ends. The Flickr group is available indefinitely for continued connection after the course ends.
Lessons: Juicy poetry goodness will be posted five times a week, usually in video lessons, and will include topics like:
- Writing and poetry prompts
- Tools to use when you face the blank page
- Poetry creative adventure assignments
- Photography prompts to connect you with the world around you (and with yourself)
- Stories about my own poetry adventures
- Stories about why I poem and how it helps me sift through the beauty and the rawness of life
- Inspiration posts that will introduce you to poets, poems, and other good things
- Interviews with poets and poetry lovers
- Journal/notebook and favorite pen/pencil
- A camera (any camera is fine, including a camera phone)
- A Flickr membership (only needed if you want to share your photos)
Registration is now closed.
More participant testimonials
So many things are coming to the surface for me as I soak in each lesson. So many doors opening inside me. Stories emerging. I have taken so many notes and have scribbled things down I don't want to forget...This is a whole new approach to writing for me and I am digging deep in my dig site. It is a comfort to know I am not alone...I love your videos and love hearing your voice. I wish I could hear you read a poem every single day. I feel so safe here. My heart is opening; my stories are emerging. I knew this class was going to be good, but I had no idea I would go so deep.
Jennifer Belthoff, Spring 2012 participant
I took this course to renew my love for poetry. I thought it would ignite a spark that was lying dormant within for quite some time...It did all that and so much more. I look at things more deeply, I listen carefully to words spoken around me, I look at the beauty of my world, I read more intently, collecting thoughts and words along the way. This course came at the perfect time in my life and gave me my voice back, thank you for that.
Donna Wynn, Spring 2012 participant
It's 1:02 AM and I am snuggled in bed with husband asleep beside me (hardly ever awake at this hour; at least not by choice) searching for and reading poetry on my iPhone. I just thought you might like to know this as I wonder whether Poem It Out can just go on forever.Paula, Spring 2012 participant
What does it mean to POEM IT OUT?
Life hands us so much. Our brains and bodies become so filled with information and worry and uncertainty and beauty and joy and silliness and loneliness that we can sometimes feel empty.
And when I need to fill the well within, I turn up Mumford & Sons and dance in circles until I feel only my heartbeat. I take a self-portrait to remind myself I am not disappearing. I call a friend. I sit and just try to breathe. I eat a dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Trader Joe’s.
But when I really need to clear my mind and reboot, I poem it out.
I read a poem to feel less alone and less crazy and more in love with this moment right here and the world around me. I pull Mary Oliver, Sharon Olds, or William Stafford from my bookshelf and read out loud until the rhythm of their words quiets my breathing and I feel space within again.
I turn to the blank page to write a poem to unearth the moments that make up all of who I am and where I have been and what I have seen. Sometimes I try to drill right down to the truth and the pain and the beauty so that I will not forget. Other times, I just write a few words that make me happy and bring in lightness and silliness and remind me of my grandmother’s laughter.
When I poem it out, I find my way back to me.
Why should I take a Poem It Out class?
Poetry has been calling to you, and you are ready to admit it.
You want to write (right now) and you long for a kindreds to support you as you begin.
You dabbled in the world of poets and poem notes when you read my book Inner Excavation, attended one my retreats, or took Create Space, and you want to spend more time reading poems and writing poetry.
You know people who love poetry but you just don’t get it (but you kind of want to).
You want to gather with others who share your love of poetry.
You need to tell your stories but you don’t know where to begin.
You need an excuse to pick up your camera and a pen.
You enjoyed Poetry Thursday when it started years ago here on my blog (and you miss it).
There is a poet waiting inside you and you know it (even if you aren’t saying this out loud yet).
Are parts of this course going to feel like those five weeks in high school where we read and wrote poetry and I kind of hated it?
So you had one of those experiences with poetry? Yeah, me too.
If you have read this far, I am guessing you know this class won't be like that kind of experience. I plan to share poetry that I believe is accessible in the sense that, as Billy Collins says in his book 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, the poems will have “a clear entrance, a front door through which the reader may pass into the body of the poem.” This means that when I invite you to head over to a site like Poetry Foundation to read a poem, we won’t be gathering in the classroom to figure out what the poet meant by each word he used and so on.
Will you or other people in the class critique my poetry?
These workshops are not academic poetry classes or classes where we will “workshop” our poetry. I will not be offering critiques, and feedback will be supportive and encouraging. So yes this is an online poetry workshop, but we will not be "workshopping" our poetry. (I feel the need to say that there is nothing wrong with classes that workshop writing, but this just isn't one of them.)
Are we going to learn about different styles of poetry and how to write using those styles?
In the Poem It Out workshops, we are going to focus more on experiencing poetry and writing a poem for the joy of it. We might, for example, explore the form of haiku and ways to write haiku poetry, but we won’t have time to get into a lot technical writing details.