Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rivers, Daughters, and February 2017 Writing Courses from Feral Mom

Photo by Robyn Beattie
Thank you to Andrew Purcell at The Journal of Applied Poetics for running four poems of mine about rivers and daughters. You can read the poems here:  Thirteen, Russian River, Perihelion, My Daughter By Candlelight, and Graduation.

I'm also very honored to report that poems, some of them from the commune manuscript that is now out in circulation, are forthcoming at Whale Road Review, Nimrod International, and Chiron Review.

I also want to thank Robyn Beattie for the beautiful image featured here. It is a detail from one of her clay boats--you've seen so many of Robyn's photos in my blogposts over the years as well as in our collaborative poetry movies. This month Calabi gallery in Santa Rosa is carrying a number of Robyn's beautiful moon and boat sculptures; do stop by (virtually if not in person) to visit her page in order to see her work and read her bio: Calabi Gallery, Robyn's work.

I’m loving teaching my latest course, Election Blues: The Gift of Agency in Poetry. I hope you are finding a way to peace as much as possible in your heart through whatever action you need to take during these tumultuous times in order to make sure your voice is being heard…witnessing and breaking silence are two powerful ways we are blessed as writers to participate. To that end, I hope to be of service to you in person or on-line. Below you’ll find my upcoming courses.

Artwork by Tania Pryputniewicz
Where Is The Love? An On-line Course: Virtual Hearth

Are you overwhelmed living in the stress of the divisive and fractured state of affairs we find ourselves in locally, nationally, and internationally? If so, my upcoming six-week course may offer what you are looking for: I’ve designed it as a virtual hearth. Each week we’ll draw on love-related themes from the Tarot and you’ll have the opportunity to write to poetry, art, music, and meet over Zoom to write in real time and share writing in the presence of a supportive community.  Writers at every level of experience are welcome and the response to the prompts is wide open—I encourage you to write in the genre of your choice (for example, by free-writing, journaling, crafting blogposts, writing poems, or writing non-fiction essays or short stories).

You'll receive a weekly video introduction to the week's theme and the week's poetry, art, and music prompts. Course will be conducted over a combination of email, Zoom, and private discussion forum. Cost for this six-week session is $290; session runs *March 6-April 14, 2017 (note amended dates). Use the contact form on this blog (below my photo in the sidebar) to email me for sign-up details or visit my Wheel of Archetypal Selves Facebook page to IM me there for more information.

SDWI First Tuesdays: Theme Set Go, February Love

My in-person monthly themed poetry workshop continues at San Diego Writers, Ink over at Liberty Station on Tuesday, February 7th. February's theme is....Love, of course...but I mean love in all forms. Come and write a Valentine's Day poem or two--for your Valentine, your child, your pet, your father, your friend. Or write an anti-Valentine's day Ode--we won't turn you away.

Either way, bring your love weary or love enthralled self out to write with me.  We are a dedicated, intimate circle of poets and always welcome a few more bodies. Contact me if you have any questions. Sign up here: Tania's First Tuesdays Theme Set Go Class

Cover Photo and Design Don Mitchell
March Poetry Workshop with Rizzo and Pryputniewicz:

Lisa Rizzo and I will join forces to celebrate the launch of her new poetry book, Always A Blue House (Saddle Road Press, December 2016). I'm over the moon that she's joining the Saddle Road Press family of authors! We will co-teach a workshop titled:

Everyday Pilgrimages: Metaphors, Questions, and Omens 
  • Saturday March 4th, 10-12 am
  • San Diego Writers, Ink in Liberty Station
  • $30 fee includes copy of Lisa Rizzo’s Always a Blue House

In Always a Blue House (Saddle Road Press, December 2016), Lisa Rizzo’s poems range between the earthbound house of human perception and the limitless plane of soul questions elicited by opening one’s heart to the blue angel of poetry. Whether she is listening in the depths of the Oregon Caves for “what had not yet been unearthed” or asking of her readers, “will you follow me?” Rizzo’s questions linger: “What gifts do I give?” “Does faith remain when memory is lost?” In November Butterfly, Tania Pryputniewicz introduces the reader to the lives of iconic women. Through personae poems, she explores metaphors and offers similar invitations:  “Let us begin with the worm / its translucent omen…”

Join us for a two-hour workshop exploring the ways we can use metaphors, questions, and omens to write the poetry of our lives. Class time will allow for a close look at a few poems from each writer's collection as a starting point for creating your own work, writing time, and sharing time. For a full course description and to sign up, visit:  Everyday Pilgrimages: Metaphors, Questions, and Omens 

Sourcing Siapo and Where Hitler Hides at MWM

Mother Writer Mentor (MWM) is pleased to remain active interviewing writers in our ongoing effort to document the matrilineal lineage of writing, writing scholarship and mentorship between women writers (regardless of where they fall on the public spectrum of publishing). Do you write? You qualify--so just know we are always on the look-out for guest posts especially from daughters of writing mothers, writing mothers with daughters, any possible combination or tangential topic. We are eager to support you getting yourself to the page. In the meantime, check out the latest two interviews we posted below.

Sourcing Siapo: A Poem and Interview with Penina Ava Taesali

Samoan writer, poet, educator, and cultural arts activist Penina Taesali, author of Sourcing Siapo, (University of Hawaii, Ala Press 2016) spoke with us and shared an excerpt from her book. Penina describes here for us part of her process: 

I had a vision of a woman walking wrapped in her siapo cloak and descending into the underground. It is a mythic shamanic story of descending and ascending. When I got home I quickly wrote the first draft of what would become the poem that appears on page sixty-four... 

Read the rest of the interview and the poem here: Sourcing Siapo: A Poem and Interview with Penina Ava Taesali

Where Hitler Hides: An Interview and Trigger Story by Marlene Samuels

We honored International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27) at MWM by running an interview with writer Marlene B. Samuels, Ph.D. and publishing an excerpt from her new manuscript, Where Hitler Hides: A Memoir in Short Stories, or actually a Trigger Story as she refers to stories that "stem from an experience that triggered memories whose roots are mired in Holocaust related events or damages." When Samuels learned that her mother was experimented on at Ravensbruck (Hitler's concentration camp for women), she told us, 

I do know from being a writer, that the best--perhaps only, way for me to make sense out of what I learned, how and when, is to deconstruct my reactions through the process of research and writing.

Read the rest of the interview and her Trigger Story "My Father's Sidewalks" at Where Hitler Hides: An Interview and Trigger Story here.  





Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tarot Dragonflies: Symbol Hunting for Joy on Election Day and January Classes

Artwork by Lisa Rizzo
Election results day, after delivering the children to school and pulling over to listen to Hillary’s concession speech, I walked beside the sea with my husband who took part of the morning off to be with me. In Hillary’s voice, I could hear the woven pain and promise when, near the end of her talk, she addressed women, young women, and little girls:

And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.

Back at home, overcome with a sense of immoblization, I rested face-down on the floor in a stripe of sunlight. Gradually, the seed-bursting warmth returned me to my body, my now. I sat up and looked out the window. The sun, now blocked perfectly by the spine of a palm tree, gave off a pale silver blue halo that enveloped the spine of a second palm tree just four feet away from the first tree.

Between the two trunks, in twos and threes, dragonflies lazily looped and landed, their wings backlit. A pair flew down into the yard, resting on the dried tips of the Bird of Paradise plant. I thought of my friend Lisa, who I worked with last month as we created our personal cards for Tarot’s suit of air, often depicted as swords in traditional decks. Here was Lisa’s suit of dragonflies, dozens of them—coming in form—so kindly, so gently, as if to say wake up, you are not alone! Lisa’s dragonfly, at the top of this post, lovingly visits here with her blessing.

In addition to the Tarot/art visitation, I am so very grateful for the beautiful newsletters from artists, writers, and healers that came to my inbox last month. Though I lost the path to my own words, I took solace in their words of hope, their grapplings to understand and chart a course to action, and their struggles to consider avenues to bridge-mending and even thriving again.  In that spirit, I’m offering courses in the New Year hoping to give sanctuary to others looking for a way to take up the pen again.

Photo by Robyn Beattie
Responding to the Election: In Election Blues: The Gift of Agency in Poetry, we will look at contemporary election/political climate poetry and write our own poems based on a range of prompts from election night experience to candidate expectations to letter poems to the next generation and more. This is a virtual write-in present-time class that will meet over Zoom starting Friday, January 6. For more information: Visit Election Blues: The Gift of Agency in Poetry.

Photo by Robyn Beattie
Practicing Gratitude: In My Cup Runneth Over: The Tarot Suit of Cups, we will move sequentially through the Cups from Ace to Ten, one card per week, and write personal responses to the card to deepen our relationship to the Tarot and to encourage a sense of heart-based gratitude as we connect the cards to our experiences of joy. This too is a virtual, live, write-in-present-time class that will meet over Zoom starting Thursday, January 5. For more information: Visit My Cup Runneth Over: The Tarot Suit of Cups.

Artwork by Tania Pryputniewicz
Making Your Own Deck: I am continuing the Tarot Dreamers: Make Your Tarot Deck series that I’ve been offering this fall; we pick up with The High Priestess. These classes are designed for soul-seeking women looking to connect artistically with their inner symbol world. We combine writing and art in the service of creating Tarot-inspired vision cards that function as beautiful physical reminders of the joys, dreams, and desires within.

The High Priestess, sometimes known as the card signaling, “the journey homeward” or a “return to oneself,” will be the focal point of our vision card making, along with the four ways we experience the High Priestess as we go about our daily lives: Two of Cups (navigating exchanges of the heart between equals), Two of Wands  (balancing our will before action), Two of Disks (juggling projects and commitments to finance while staying spiritually aligned), and Two of Swords (working to maintain a peaceful and loving set of thoughts in relation to ourselves so we can thrive internally as well as externally). For more information: Visit Tarot Dreamers: The High Priestess

In-Person Monthly Themed Poetry Workshop continues at San Diego Writers, Ink. January's theme is Outer Space. Come out and join us; we are a lovely, intimate circle of poets and welcome a few more bodies for sure. Sign up here:

Tania's First Tuesdays Theme Set Go Class


Additional Links of interest:

Artwork and Photo Credits: As noted by caption: by Lisa Rizzo and Robyn Beattie

A beautiful post my co-blogger at Tarot for Two, Mary Allen: The Lovers and the 2016 Election.

An excerpt from an inspiring interview with Tarot Deck Maker and Jazz Musician Art Lande of the Art Tarot:


We are really talking about your singing self. Let’s sing: something simple, like you would sing when you were two years old. We will sing together and we will listen together. What is honesty? What is innocence? What is resonance? It is something we feel, know in our hearts. Innocence, resonance, and looking at the heart of the matter together—whatever it is—we are all teachers and learners. And all the divisions, right vs. wrong, are heartbreaking. We’re all the same: We all want to be moved to the core.

Read rest of interview here: The Art Tarot.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Tarot Dreaming: Learning from the Deck Makers

Tarot Deck Makers Interview Series

Ever in pursuit of finding the next leaping off edge from which to enrich Tarot play, I am ecstatic to have launched my Tarot Deck Makers Interview Series this month. My goal is to glean insights from deck makers around the globe about their creative process and about the ways in which they personally were changed by engaging with the Tarot at that level of intensity. To commit to making an entire deck is to commit to symbol walking through the Tarot lineage that came before and to be willing to riff and play and enter one's own symbol-scape in search of symbols and patterns of benefit for those of us living here, now. Here are images from two different Tarot Decks and excerpts from my first two interviews.

Rachel Pollack, much revered Tarot scholar, author of 37 fiction and non-fiction books, and author of what is often referred to as the Tarot Bible, 78 Degrees of Wisdom, spoke about some of the results of creating the Shining Tribe deck:

There was a much greater intimacy with the cards, not just my own deck, but others.  I discovered that the Tarot can have a great sense of humor, and play with you through the cards it gives you.  The Shining Tribe deck also led to a major practice of mine I call Wisdom Readings, in which we ask the cards questions beyond personal issues.  The first Wisdom reading was "What is the soul?" I pulled just one card, the Ace of Birds, an owl in darkness staring intently at the reader.  Other people have adopted the practice of Wisdom readings, so creating my own deck has led to a contribution to the history of reading cards.  


Regarding the Poet Tarot Deck, makers Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy of Two Sylvias Press shared:

Our deck follows the traditional Tarot deck with a few variations. As we stated above, the major arcana is made up of poets—Edgar Allan Poe represents the Devil (XV) while Emily Dickinson is the Hermit (IX). E. E. Cummings is a great fit for the Fool (O) and William Butler Yeats, a good symbol of transformational Endings (XIII). The suit cards represent the stages of the creative process: Muses/Inspiration (Cups), Quills/Creation (Wands), Mentors/Revision (Swords), and Letterpresses/Completion (Coins). The guidebook accompanying the deck is 80 pages and includes card explanations, layouts, and ideas for using the cards for specific projects.



While I have a dream list of Tarot deck makers to interview, please don’t hesitate to contact me with suggestions for future interviews.

Tarot Dreamers: Make Your Tarot Deck Course 2, The High Priestess and Her Gifts

I’m pleased to continue to offer Tarot Deck Making classes this fall. The process has been richer than imagined as we explored how to translate the larger ideas behind each card into personal vision cards reflecting our unique histories and future aspirations.

Here’s an example from our first class: my newly drafted Ace of Windmills (Ace for the Suit of Air). It corresponds to the idea that one can stand rooted in all forms of weather, transforming the powerful winds of adversity into alternate forms of energy such as inspiration to create art. Ever since I was a child I have loved standing out in the pre-storm rain and wind and have loved the way wind wakes up the edges of my body.

Want to step in and join us? Our process repeats in seven-week installments; we explore our relationship to the past, present, and future. We do this in a supportive brainstorming community in which we go through a series of writing exercises to help us begin drafting cards in our art form of choice. The assignment of cards--our focus of Major and corresponding minor cards--is what changes. The next seven-week online course starts on November 7 and ends on December 23. By completion of this course, we will have drafted a Major Arcanum vision card for the High Priestess and for her corresponding Minor Mentor cards:

  •      Two of Cups (navigating exchanges of the heart between equals)
  •      Two of Wands  (balancing our will before action)
  •      Two of Disks (juggling projects and commitments to finance while staying spiritually aligned)
  •      Two of Swords (working to maintain a peaceful and loving set of thoughts in relation to ourselves so we can thrive internally as well as externally).


Course Cost is $350(*after student feedback from our first course, I've added an additional week to the course to allow for card completion and closing activities). Course communication will take place over a combination of email, Zoom, and private online discussion forum. Prompts, feedback, forum, and Zoom provided; participants are responsible for materials for the art form they choose to practice for the duration of the course. To sign up, visit Wheel of Archetypal Selves Facebook Page page to message me there or email me through my contact page from this blog.

*I’m sure I will offer the full series more than once, so please don’t worry if you miss a particular seven-week course.

San Diego Writers, Ink: Theme, Set, Go Monthly Poetry Workshop

Join me for my first Tuesday of the month workshop in San Diego—drop-ins welcome. The Human Body is the focus for September. We will read aloud from body poems by a variety of poets including Alleyne, Forche, Komachi, Limon, Mandelshtam, Neruda, and more. Bring a friend and your favorite human body poem, tomorrow, Tuesday, December 1st, at 10 am. We meet at Liberty Station. December’s theme is Nature.

Sign up here:


Wheel of Archetypal Selves Newsletter:

Another way to stay in touch with me is through my newsletter which provides poetry and Tarot related news and tips: