celebrate with me

Just the other day I was turned on to this Lucille Clifton poem by a colleague at work and now I’m grateful to be seeing, hearing and feeling it everywhere:

neon text reads: come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed

Inspired By “What Is Left” 2020 @brooklynhiartmachine (artists Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney) in collaboration with @bricbrooklyn the installation is on view at the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn through May 2021.

won’t you celebrate with me

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Here’s a video of Ms. Clifton sharing her work:

poetry month

The fact that it’s poetry month again didn’t really register with me immediately, what with everything else going on. It’s not a luxury though and I’ve often insisted on the importance of a world where poetry, art, music, dance, JOY not only exist but flourish whatever else is going on. As a poet, it’s part of my responsibility to do what I can to help manifest that vision.

Text reads: Tuesday as fuck. Keep testing me. from "Flex," Betsy FAgin
from “Flex,” Betsy Fagin

I think I’ll be having a reading soon– details are still being worked out– and in preparation, I went back over some of my work to see what I have to share with folks now. Re-reading self-driving, I’m really into the work there and it’s gotten wildly eery in light of the pandemic and current global circumstances. Some earlier versions of poems from self-driving are available here at the Brooklyn Rail. Anytime anyone wants to publish the whole book, just hit me up. I’ll keep on tweaking and editing it until it finds a forever home.

The last 6 weeks have really been Tuesday as fuck though. For real.

devotions

There are so many beautiful lines from Mary Oliver that are quoted regularly in mindfulness and yoga circles, probably because they’re beautiful and they’re also very true. One of them is “attention is the beginning of devotion” from her essay “Upstream.” (An article in the Atlantic, reflecting on that essay is here.) I could spend ages diving into Oliver’s work and I’m incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to do just that.

I’ve been living closely with her work for the past few months and will continue to do so through the summer when I’ll be guiding a workshop at Poets House on her work.

In this practical workshop, we’ll dive into Oliver’s work and make use of Poets House’s waterfront location to cultivate attention as we listen to the world and explore our “place in the family of things.” We will create new poems and investigate earnestness, accessibility, and darkness in Oliver’s work, focusing on Dream Work and Devotions.

The course runs from June 11-July 16, 2020 and registration is open until May 22nd.

Poets House is wheelchair accessible & located at 10 River Terrace in New York City.

new poems

Thrilled to get my hands on the latest copy of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. There are five of my recent poems in issue 45.1 along with fantastic work by some of my favorites, Cynthia Manick and Douglas Kearney as well as voices that are new to me. Thank you to the editors for putting together another wonderful issue!

Subscribe to Obsidian & support the work here: https://obsidianlit.org/subscribe/

meditation in an emergency

While I was off meditating in the California hills, the good folks at The Poetry Project put together a feature of some of the writing that was produced in our Meditation in an emergency workshop this Fall.

New work from Janae Brux, Anna Gurton-Wachter, E.C. Kane, Peter Bogart Johnson, Susana Malo, Ryan Nowlin, Victoria Ordway and Serge Rodriguez is now online at https://www.poetryproject.org/publications/work-from-meditations-in-an-emergency/.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share some writing & meditation practices with this group. It’s wonderful to see some of what grew out of our time together. Join us next week for a free reading from workshop participants: Thursday December 12th at 8pm. The Poetry Project is located at 131 E. 10th St. NYC. Facebook event details here.

Accessibility: St. Mark’s Church is wheelchair accessible. Please call The Poetry Project at 212-674-0910 in advance of events to arrange accessibility. Please note on Fridays between 8-9:30pm the wheelchair accessible all gender bathrooms on the ground floor are unavailable because another arts project has performances in the sanctuary. There are All-Gender bathrooms on the second floor of the church. To access Parish Hall, attendees must pass through the main sanctuary and a corridor. There are 2 sets of double doors and two single doors to go through. The smallest of these doors at the end of the corridor is 28.5 inches wide. The Poetry Project will arrange for an ASL interpreter for any event with one week’s advance notice.

New Yorkers’ busy schedules

Our writing & meditation class at The Poetry Project, meditation in an emergency, continues apace. We made lots of little books last week. Above is an image from one of my own. I’m so grateful to get to offer what I love with/for others who share my interests. Writing and book making for me are gateways into flow states. There was so much wonderful energy and focus in the room, I didn’t want to disrupt it by documenting for social media. Participants will be sharing some of their own work at an upcoming reading at the Project in December.

meditation in an emergency

“Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous” Frank O’Hara

Next month, I’ll be guiding a workshop at The Poetry Project, meditation in an emergency. I tweaked Frank O’Hara’s title because it feels especially apt, but the workshop’s got nothing to do with Frank O’Hara.

It will be a practical class, a space to explore the present moment– lived, bodily experience– within and through the vehicle of writing. Utilizing a variety of generative writing exercises, meditation practices and discussion, this 5-week class invites participants to anchor in the body, the breath, sound and sensation and to translate this embodiment into their writing practices. The focus of this class is cultivating mindful awareness and generating new material. Previous meditation experience is not required.

EVENT DETAILS: Thursday, September 19, 2019, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parish Hall, St. Mark’s Church (131 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003)
Cost: $150 for 5 Sessions – 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/17, 10/24.
Register online at The Poetry Project

Accessibility: Please call The Poetry Project at 212-674-0910 in advance to arrange accessibility. Please note on Thursdays & Fridays between 8-9:30pm the wheelchair accessible all gender bathrooms on the ground floor are unavailable because another arts project has performances in the sanctuary. There are All-Gender bathrooms on the second floor of the church. To access Parish Hall, attendees must pass through the main sanctuary and a corridor. There are 2 sets of double doors and two single doors to go through. The smallest of these doors at the end of the corridor is 28.5 inches wide. The Poetry Project will arrange for an ASL interpreter for any event with one week’s advance notice.

January readings

Reaching the Cliffs of Moher was a visceral experience of the end of the line, the edge of the world. Beautiful and terrifying. This photo does no justice to the drama of the experience, but it illustrates an end.

Ending one year, beginning the next, I’ll be starting my 2019 by reading at the Poetry Project’s 45th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading.

This year’s lineup includes: Andrea Abi-Karam, Ammiel Alcalay, Ashna Ali, Justin Allen, Julie Alsop, Jonathan Aprea, Penny Arcade, Ed Askew Band, Daisy Atterbury, James Barickman, J. Mae Barizo, Peter BD, Jim Behrle, Anselm Berrigan, Edmund Berrigan, Fabrienne Bottero, Michael Broder, Lee Ann Brown & Janice Lowe, Marie Buck, Phong Bui, Steve Cannon, Wo Chan, Yoshiko Chuma with Dane Terry, Lauren Clark, Todd Colby, John Coletti, CA Conrad, Lydia Cortes, Brenda Coultas, Alex Cuff, Matty D’Angelo, Kyle Dacuyan, Jordan Davis, Ted Dodson, r erica doyle, Ry Dunn, Anaïs Duplan, Marcella Durand, Steve Earle, Mel Elberg, Betsy Fagin, Will Farris, Farnoosh Fathi, Avram Fefer, Camonghne Felix, Jack Ferver, Jennifer Firestone, Jen Fisher, Jameson Fitzpatrick, Dorothy Friedman August, Kay Gabriel, John Godfrey, Suzanne Goldenberg, Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves, Phoebe Greer & Arthur Cañedo, Diana Hamilton, Odetta Hartman, David Henderson, Barbara Henning, Laura Henriksen, Erika Hodges, Bob Holman, Erica Hunt, Cori Hutchinson, Omotara James, Rachel James, Paolo Javier, Cyree Jarelle Johnson, Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte, Millie Kapp & Matt Shalzi, Vincent Katz, erica kaufman, Amy King, Anna Kreienberg, M Lamar, Yaz Lancaster, Sue Landers, Denizé Lauture, Paul Legault, Rachel Levitsky, Matt Longabucco, Brendan Lorber, Jimena Lucero, Filip Marinovich, Erin Markey, Douglas A. Martin, Eline Marx with Devin Brahja Waldman as teknikal issues, Greg Masters, Andriniki Mattis, Jillian McManemin, Yvonne Meier, Carley Moore, Tracie Morris, Dave Morse, Stephen Motika, Gala Mukomolova, Sahar Muradi, Uche Nduka, Peter Neeley, Precious Okoyomon, Edgar Oliver, Laura Ortman, Nicky Paraiso, Trace Peterson, Matt Proctor & Sarah Safaie, Lorelei Ramirez, El Roy Red, Batya Rosenblum, Bob Rosenthal, Douglas Rothschild, Judah Rubin, John Rufo, George Emilio Sanchez, Tina Satter, Tom Savage, Simon Schuchat, Purvi Shah, Frank Sherlock, Jayson Smith, Sean D. Henry Smith, Pamela Sneed, Patricia Spears Jones, Tammy Faye Starlite, Max Steele, Jim Stewart, Sara Jane Stoner, Bridget Talone, Susie Timmons, Edwin Torres, Tony Towle, Cat Tyc, Aldrin Valdez, Cecilia Vicuna, Anna Vitale, Morgan Vo, Asiya Wadud, Anne Waldman with Fast Speaking Music, Nicole Wallace, Lewis Warsh, Jacqueline Waters, Rachael Wilson, Chavisa Woods, Matvei Yankelevich, John Yau, The Double Yews , Don Yorty, Spoke and Feather, Sparrow / Foamola, The Blow, and St. Mark’s Choir.

Support poetry on New Year’s Day from 2pm on at The Poetry Project 131 E. 10th St, NYC $20 tickets available at  https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3906011, $25 at the door.

On January 11th, Laura Henriksen & I will be kicking off the first THERETHEN reading at 7pm at The Footlight 465 Seneca Avenue Brooklyn, NY.

Organized by Dustin Williamson, THERETHEN is an occasional chapbook reading series. Handmade, letterpress chapbooks of work by the readers will be on offer– only available at the reading.

All the best to everyone in 2019. May there be peace. May there be peace.
May there be love, justice and peace for all beings.