Writing From Body & Earth

Writing From Body & Earth

Writing From Body & Earth

with Marianela Medrano & Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg 

1-4:30 p.m., Saturday, July 30

The Hummingbird Center for Common Ground, Berlin, Vermont (outside Montpelier)

Join us for an afternoon with two workshops -- "Writing From the Body" with Marianela Medrano and "Writing From the Earth" with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg -- in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

We live in concentric circles, starting at our most local home of our bodies, and rippling out through our homes, communities, ecoregions, planet, and universe. Poetry and the poetic power of language in prose especially – through its rhythms and sensory imagery – can be a pathway to connecting with body and earth. By writing about where we are – as bodies, and as part of the earth -- we can generate powerful, new writing as we deepen our sense of being at home in our skin and on the earth. We'll explore identity, callings, embodiment, personal history, ecology, and what it means to both live in specific bodies and places. Most of all, we'll be illuminating how to make the visible – what's right here in/of our bodies, dwellings, local terrain, weather and skies – more visible, and use that new vision as a lantern to lead us toward greater homecoming.

Writing From the Body with Marianela Medrano

Through the poetics of the body, we can create a renewal of personal and collective power, playfulness, and passion. Embodied writing gives us access to weaving the web of interdependence and interconnections that sustains us. Direct experiences, i.e., meditation and embodied writing, will draw new links between the creative and the sacred. We’ll write to capture our experiences in a way that elicits “sympathetic resonance,” or a natural response through which a reader “vibrates” empathically with the writer when reading or listening. We’ll become the very things we are describing—e.g., writing as if we were love to portray its texture, sound, flavor, scent, and appearance; for that, we’ll use all senses and retreat into silence to reel in what needs to be portrayed. The poetry of Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh will guide us. 

We’ll focus on the following: vivid and true-to-life depictions, bridging internal and external experiences, writing from the inside out, slowing down to capture nuances, attuning to the living body, and writing in the first-person, present tense. 

Writing From the Earth with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Our writing can help us forge deeper bonds with the places we live and traverse and what David Abram calls the “more-than-human species” all around us. Honing our attention and senses can help us bring to the page more original and vibrant detail, making the poem itself a place for the reader to enter and explore. We’ll experiment with prompts and approaches that bring greater presence to our poetry and lives while also considering the poetry of writers such as Pattiann Rogers, William Stafford, Joy Harjo, and others. Drawing from bioregional philosophy and experience, we’ll write from, for, into and out of the places where we are right now together and our home places. Through poetry, we can further open our sensory awareness – the ears of our ears and eyes of our eyes – to connect from our most local address, our bodies, to more of the living earth and changing sky around us.

The Hummingbird Center for Common Ground right outside Montpelier, Vermont comes out of the vision of its founder Suzanne Richman, who writes, "Through reflection, convivial learning and creativity, we seek to connect more deeply with ourselves, each other, and the places where we live. In doing so, we generate care and healing among diverse peoples and for the bioregion we call home." Find out more about the center here.

Registration: Fee (includes workshop, ample handouts, and healthy refreshments): $90 early bird rate and $120 after July 1. Partial scholarship available for those who qualify -- please contact Marianela here for more information. You can pay via Venmo (Caryn-Goldberg-2), and please send Caryn an email with your contact information. Or you can pay via Paypal through this link. If you prefer to pay by check, please email Caryn for details.

About the Presenters

Marianela Medrano, Ph.D., was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and has lived in Connecticut since 1990. A poet and a writer of nonfiction and fiction. She is also a mindfulness practitioner and instructor. Her literary work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines in Latin America, Europe and the United States. She is the author of seven books of poetry, and a children’s book. Her TEDTALK at Ursuline College speaks about her work and research on the Taíno people. She is the founder of Palabra Training Center, where words are given as medicine, and runs the podcast "What a Word is Worth: Conversations on collective healing through creative means."

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam's Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, she is a beloved writing workshop facilitator and writing coach. She offers weekly “Care Packages for a Creative Life” through her Patreon page. She makes her home in Kansas on tallgrass prairie and emerging woodlands (which she and her family have been restoring for decades) on unceded land from the Kansa and Shawnee, which is now part of a conservation easement. She also feels a sense of belonging to central Vermont from over 20 years of teaching at Goddard College.