Friday, October 4, 2019

My Daughter's Potato and The Owl

My poem “My Daughter’s Potato” is up at SWWIM (Supporting Women Writers in Miami) thanks to editors Jen Karetnick and Catherine Esposito Prescott. Much gratitude to them for housing a poem that holds one of the many views of motherhood, in which marriage, a guitar, a potato, a son, and a daughter converge.

Last night the potatoes remained safe in the refrigerator; we rummaged for grandpa’s recipe for play dough, taped as it was still to the TOC for the Joy of Cooking (loose of spine). As my three children jostled and joked in the kitchen, kneading drops of food coloring into portions of clay my son would later form into sections for a 3D model of the brain, the older kids tried their latest joke on me, “Someone in the room is possessed by an owl…”

As a poet mom, I rarely get it right. I like the line, so I repeat it back to them, “Someone in the room is possessed by an owl…

…until the youngest breaks down and says it for me… “Who? Who?” and into the night we descend laughing.

Image at the top of this post is an Owl Tower (unfired) by Robyn Beattie.

Monday, July 1, 2019

July Classes: Poetry as Permission and Tarot Journaling to Know Yourself

July Poetry Opportunities

Imagine: Two hours in a room with other writers. Each loves words as much as you do! Where else can you spend time reading and writing poems? The answer: Monday Mantarays Poetry Read and Critique, upstairs at San Diego Writers, Ink. We meet weekly on Mondays from 10-12 noon.

In our very first class (today) we considered definitions of poetry. Is poetry “being, not doing” as E. E. Cummings says? Or is it “a place to tell secrets—a lamplight for difficult experiences” after Burroughs? Or after Kunitz, is poetry “the telling of the stories of the soul?” 

We also made a list of forms we’d like to try. After writing to the notion of “first permission” (taken from the poem “Often I am Permitted to Return to a Meadow,” by Robert Duncan) and Audre Lorde’s timeless assertion that “Poetry is Not a Luxury,” we considered directions in which to point the arrow of our inquiry over the course of our classes so that we each end up with our own particular series of poems based on a theme or question. 

I hope you’ll join us. We dive deep in the pursuit of all the Big Questions in Life and study the skillset of poets across time to hone our own poetry skills. We will be using Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook among others. Next class meets Monday, July 8, 2019. Sign up here: Monday Mantarays Poetry Read and Critique

If meeting during the week is not an option, join me for Second Saturdays Poetry Read and Critique; this class convenes once a month and our next session meets Saturday, July 13, 2019. 

Tarot Journaling to Know Yourself: A Tour Through the Majors

Knowing that I’m an unapologetic tarot lover, a number of my friends suggested that I watch Wine Country, a movie out on Netflix about a group of women on retreat in Napa Valley. They land in a house staffed with a cook and suffer through an ominous session with a tarot reader, Lady Sunshine, camera foregrounding the black silk. One by one, the usual tarot card heavyweights fall: Death! Wheel of Fortune! Chariot! to name a few, which of course, with Sunshine’s unsunny take on what the energies portend, entirely unsettles each recipient.

The truth is that tarot energies can be explored through the lens of lived life in a gentle, manageable manner to consider our goals and potential with an eye towards joy. Certainly the cards represent major and minor transitional experiences. Indeed, some cards do stand for facing loss or change of situation, habit, job, or friendship as we all inevitably do over and over again throughout the course of our lives (Death). We also face changes in the way we view or experience our soul-wealth, heart-wealth or pocket-book-wealth (Fortune) or periods of time when we are trying to grow a new self or choose a new part of ourselves to bring forward into the world (Chariot). How we respond to these situations (as failures for example or as opportunities) can make all the difference in how we move on from our obstacles.

The cards give us images and symbols that we can use as focal points to ask: Which part can we change? Where is our perspective unmoving? What stands to be re-ordered, digested, understood, forgiven? And most importantly, where is the love we've been looking for? How do we know when we've arrived? Tarot journaling gives us a chance to make a truce with the past, freeing up our energy to create or map a path forward to new opportunities.

This course is based on worksheets from the forthcoming Heart’s Compass Tarot Workbook (Saddle Road Press). For the full course description, visit: Tarot Journaling to Know Yourself. We meet over live video call. For more information, or to sign up, use the email form on this site or IM me at the Heart’s Compass Tarot Facebook page

Monday, June 3, 2019

A Tarot Angel, Residency News, and a Free Poetry Workshop for You

A Tarot Angel for Kalli

Happy June! Life is swirling past at an epic rate, or at least it feels that way with my firstborn on the cusp of graduating from high school. Here’s my latest composite tarot card sketch. If I’ve done anything for my girl, I hope it’s to teach her to love the second sun of her heart, right there in the middle of her body, and to steer forward with joy, heart-connected. May the angels watch over all of our children as they move on and blossom. Congratulations to all the mothers and fathers traipsing through this emotional landscape…what a blessing.

Rockvale Writers’ Colony Award

I am so pleased to announce that “Two Gardens” (from Berkeley Postcard, a manuscript of poems about my mother) has won the first Rockvale Writers’ Colony poetry contest on the theme of Time. “Two Gardens” will appear in Rockvale Review Issue Five (November 2019). The prize also includes a week-long residency at Rockvale Writers’ Colony. I am so looking forward to the time to focus on my writing projects.

Founder and Director Sandy Coomer writes generously here about choosing the poem and the synchronicity of the timing in relation to the residency, its location, and healing a lost opportunity. Both the poem, “Two Gardens,” and Coomer’s comments can be accessed here:  Two Gardens

June Poetry Opportunities

Not Your Usual Father’s Day Poetry Workshop: Letters, Rhyme, and the Senses. Join me in Carlsbad on Sunday, June 9, 2019 from 1:30 to 4:30 at the Georgina Cole Library (Community Room), 1250 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA. This poetry workshop is free (and graciously sponsored by the Friends of Carlsbad Library). Come with paper and pencil and we will explore the epistle form, drafting our own conversational letter poems as well as working with rhyme and the senses. Poets on our worksheet include Gary Snyder, Thom Gunn, Eavan Boland, Megan Arlett, Penina Ava Taesali, Lan Lan, and others.

Second Saturdays Poetry Read and Critique

Second Saturdays Poetry Read and Critique meets this coming Saturday, June 8 at Liberty Station from 10-12. We’ll be looking at Instagram Poets and our worksheet title is Reversals and Secrets. Come join us…we are a passionate and lively group of poets. Walk-ins welcome. Cost for this group is $30 for SDWI members, $36 for non-members.

Related Links: 

Rockvale review previously published two of my poems, “City Boys” and “The Marriage Counselor Channels King Solomon” (paired with photography in Issue Two, May 2018, Rockvale Review).