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Online Workshop: Poems As Prayers: Writing Towards A Just World


Read the full description of this online class at the Transformative Language Arts Website.

Here’s a taste:

Have you ever discovered that a detail you’d once magically, unwittingly predicted in a poem suddenly became true? In this generative workshop, we’ll strive to harness that same mystical energy to write our collective future into existence— through poetry. Inspiration will be mined from movement workers, social change influencers, the inherent genius of nature’s patterns, the starfish’s regenerative limb! We’ll cast hope into the universe through ritual, spellmaking, disruption, and interactive poem-experiments— guided by a motley crew of visionary writers and thinkers. Where we are used to lamenting and pushing against the conditions of what are, participants will be encouraged, when possible, to work from an emergent lens, feeling towards what could be instead.

This course is designed for each student to connect to their own unique social justice intention. Given that the purpose of the workshop is to help participants expand awareness beyond ego-driven concerns, locate and amplify individual sources of creativity, and sense into futures of potential, the workshop offers no prescriptive answers or solutions. Instead, participants will be offered unusual writing exercises meant to coax forward new and unexpected ideas. A series of options will be presented for each individual to select from to ignite or catalyze their own creative responses.

A sample poem that helps illustrate the kind of possibility we are after: Field Trip to the Museum of Human History by Franny Choi imagines a world where the brutality of American policing is an ancient system of the past.

We’ll be inspired by readings from adrienne maree brown, CA Conrad, Aja Monet, Ada Limón, Joy Harjo, June Jordan, Margaret J. Wheatley, Layli Long Soldier, Kimiko Hahn, Harryette Mullen, Daniel Borzutsky, Natalie Diaz, Jaki Shelton Green, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Maggie Smith, Matthew Olzmann, Tracy K Smith, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, José Olivarez, Otto Scharmer, Joshua Bennett, Tom Sleigh, Lucille Clifton, F.J. Bergmann, Martin Espada, Elizabeth Alexander, Ross Gay, Aracelis Girmay, Naomi Shihab Nye, Khadijah Queen, Vievee Francis, Matthew Mendoza, Mary Oliver, Nazim Hikmet, Big Energy Poets, dg nanouk okpik, Alberto Rios and many more!

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