Poetry Playhouse

An Online Adventure Without Leaving Home Jan. 9 - Feb. 26, 2023

Enter your house of poetry to  explore, experiment, play, rest, unearth, and renovate your writing. By drawing on memories, experiences, and dreams of where and how you've lived, you will craft a whole new body of poems in a welcoming and encouraging community. We'll use innovative writing prompts (including poems, questions, videos and guidance for creating your own bag of tricks all life long) to access poetic material from the interior rooms and external spaces of your life.

Note: This Poetry Playhouse has been renovated! Please feel free to join us again for new prompts and guidance and also because we all have so much much to write about in our house of poetry.

Each week we will:

  • Write about a different room in the poetry playhouse (and from a different pocket in your psyche), from the family room (writing childhood), through the bedroom (writing about dreams and the dark), to the front porch (writing in community) and up to the attic (writing ancestors and generational stories)
  • Explore new poetic forms, such as pantoums, or a group renga
  • Learn more about the craft of writing and revising poetry, including powerful imagery, engaging rhythms, effective line breaks and spacing, powerful beginnings and endings, and the romance of revision.
  • Read and watch a featured poet to to glean more opportunities for our own poems.
  • Contemplate the challenges and miracles of being a workaday writer.

Additionally, we have some wonderful ways to further connect:

  • Generous and positive feedback on your new and evolving poetry each week from me, plus supportive responses from peers.
  • Mini coaching session at your convenience to work with me on your poetry or talk over any aspect of the writing life.
  • Three Zoom sessions -- 7-8 CT/ 8-9 ET/ 6-7 MT/ 5-6 PT -- on Thursday evenings January 12 (to get to know each other), February 2 (to share our ongoing writing and discoveries), and February 23 (for a celebratory readings).

Format: This online class will be friendly and easy to navigate, hosted on a platform called Wet Ink, starting Monday, Jan. 9. A new lesson will start each subsequent Monday. Our three Zooms will offer you warm interactions with other writers and opportunities to share your writing, questions, and discoveries.

Who Is This Class For?: I've designed this class to meet you where are you, whether you just dipped your toe into the waters or have been swimming laps through poetry for decades. All the writing prompts, lessons, and resources embrace you unearthing more of your voice, refresh or shine a new light on ways you can work and play with language, and encourage you to write with guidance and abandon. 

Fees: $320. You can register via Venmo (please drop me an email with your name, email, and phone number, and send payment to Caryn-Goldberg-2), or by check (email me for address), or on Square.

Week By Week

Each week, we explore another room in the Poetry Playhouse, each one designed to inspire your poetry. 

Week One -- The Playroom: Creating With Abandon: Find your creative magic and mojo through a more playful relationship with your poetry. The playroom helps us warm up for our writing, break out of old habits or mindsets that lead us away from experimenting with language, and take creative risks for fresh, alive, and original poetry.

Week Two -- The Living Room: Drawing From Real Life: By leaning into our life's experiences, we can find ample material for poetry. This week, we focus on what we've lived and are currently living as source material in the warm embrace of the living room.

Week Three -- The Family Room: Writing About Families of Origin, of Choice, and of Your Own Creation: "Anyone who survived a childhood has enough material to last him the rest of his days," says Flannery O'Connor. This week we'll turn to childhood experiences and perceptions as well as what we're called to write about the families we've created or chosen.

Week Four -- The Kitchen: The Nourishment of Intimate Exchanges: The kitchen is often the center of any party for a good reason: food, and the making and keeping of it, draws us together. This week, we'll be exploring intimacy and nourishment with those we connect with over food, drink and the kitchen table.

Week Five -- The Bedroom: Dreams, Sex, and Other Adventures in the Dark: By exploring what makes us wild and takes us beyond daytime stories about who we are, we can access new ways into our poems. Our bedrooms are the hotbeds, so to speak, of our dreams, sensuality, and unconscious meanderings.

Week Six -- The Basement, Attic, and Porch: Poetic Roots and Wings: The basements and attics are where we store a lot of stuff: what comes out seasonally or not at all, what we're inherited from our ancestors, and what possibilities we may use one day. The porch looks out toward what's in flight, including our own poetry. Altogether, we celebrate where we're come from and where we're going.

Where I’ve Been: Cheating On You With Another Blog: Everyday Magic, Day 533

Please forgive me. I’ve been writing on another blog behind your back this week, but truly, this blog means nothing to me compared to you! I was just using it for the words, and besides, I brought those words home to share with you.

The blog I’m guest-editing this week is the wonderful She Writes, a fabulous resource for women who write with lots of resources, tips, inspiration, practical notions and magical imaginings for anyone (not just women) who writes.

Here’s what I’ve been writing behind your back:

I’m also happy to feature Kansas writer Cheryl Unruh’s post, “The Journey,” a lively and moving account of how she went from a dream of a book to a book come true.

So come visit me at the lovely little b & b of www.SheWrites.com, and I promise to return home to you come the weekend, refreshed and ready to talk about something other than the writing life (such as the life worth writing about).

After the Storm, the Stars: Everyday Magic, Day 335

Another poem inspired by Stephen Locke’s photographs, this one taken after the tornadoes in Oklahoma last week.

After the Storm, the Stars

rise from the Osage Orange, wheeling effortlessly overhead as if

nothing has changed. They shine awake in the fresh open heart of the air,

cleansed free of all but the wind without end that lashes leaves against leaves.

Meanwhile, the rays of remnant clouds burn translucent, then invisible.

The exposed dirt ages in the wind. A slat from a child’s doll cradle grows into

the grass. Paper from two towns away lifts to ferry important words nowhere.

The sky exhales, waits, surges then drops to the disturbed ridge where flowers

rock upside, the rocks from elsewhere dream of the old days, and in the off and on

cadence of distant train whistles someone’s cries come staccaco to this night

wrapped in shimmer and quiet. Tomorrow, not so far from here, there will be

search dogs and careful lifting of sheetrock and broken furniture, then

bulldozers and power saws, rented U-hauls to save, then clear, whatever is left.

Months ahead to measure what was lost, articulate what the weather can do

in numbers and even more, read the brail of the stories left behind. The new world

not conjured arrives here anyway, and over this sprawling tree of life, the stars.

How Many Poets Laureate Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb?: Everyday Magic, Day 229

We’ll find out very soon because starting this weekend, the poets are coming: 20 poets laureate from Alabama to Alaska, and South Carolina to Colorado. As anyone who knows me surely knows by now, for better or worse, I’m the main organizer of Poet Laureati: A National Convergence of Poets Laureate, happening in my hometown of Lawrence, KS. Sun-Mon., March 13-14. For about a year, I’ve been churning out emails, fielding calls, building webpages and badgering all of my facebook friends about this event, all in an effort to make something out of nothing.

Ted Kooser, who is donating his time to read at our event. Thanks, Ted!

By nothing, I simply mean “no money,” and by something, I mean an event that has some kind of meaning for those of us reading, speaking, listening or hanging out within the swirl of readings, workshops, receptions and visits. We tried to find funding, but everywhere we looked, the cupboards were bare. So what was to be had to spun out of air, and spun out of air it was. Thanks to lots of local sponsors who donated making and distributing posters, featuring us on their websites, airing us on the radio (Thanks, K

PR!), sending us information to their members and customers, we succeeded thus far financially — meaning we raised enough $ to give the poets laureate coming at least a very small stipend to cover part of their travel expenses — and it looks like we’ll succeed when it comes to imagination, inspiration and invention.

Karla Morton, one of the state poets laureate coming. Guess what state.

We also ended up editing and having published (Thanks, Ice Cube Books!), an anthology — An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the State Poets Laureate of America, which will be launched at this event.

Now that it’s all upon me, it’s hard to believe that about a year ago, some of us Midwest poets laureate sat at a table at Tellers, conjuring up an event and a book, but also reminding ourselves that it might be too much to do both or either. Yet here it is: poetry on the hoof and wing, aiming itself toward Lawrence, and ready to land soon.


Two Links That Converge In My Heart

I want to share two links that seemingly may seem different — one is a poem about February — or more precisely, our little blizzard yesterday — published by the good people at The Kansas City Star who dropped me a line yesterday to ask if I might write something about our significant weather event.

The other is a link to an interview my boss, Ruth Farmer, gave to The Magazine of Yoga about real learning, the importance of skepticism and trusting the process, tinkering and leading, generic cialis shipping to canada progressive education, and what all we do at Goddard College in terms of holding the space for people to ask their most relevant questions and quest toward answers. See Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. (And learn more about Goddard here).

Finding our questions, quests and poetic ways of holding and seeing what life gives us echoes at the edge of what I know and don’t know, leading me into teaching and writing. And so, I share these connections with you — enjoy!