2014 Workshop Description

Afternoon Session—Instructor: Sharon Doubiago

The Autobiography of My Soul and Yours

"The poet is the one who takes the World into the Self, sieves it through the Self and then gives it back to the World." Lorca

"Pay attention to what they tell you to forget/…Farewell, the madness of the guardians/… there is no guardian, it is all built into me./  /Do I move toward form, do I use all my fears?" Muriel Ruykeser Double Ode

I became a poet within the first month of my moving here to the Mendocino Coast almost forty years ago. In getting an education I’d dropped the word "soul" from my vocabulary. In coming here I found it again. For the first time in my life I was listened to. A main reason for writer’s block is that the soul goes silent, the soul hides from the gossips, the graders, the police, the judges, the conscious self. Being here for a solid six years empowered and enabled me to go back out to find publication. The community here, its poets, politics, and nature, the wild beauty here, continued to empower and inspire me in the wonderful, sometimes ruthless politics of the publishing world.

Let’s discuss the issues of approval and disapproval of our writing, why soul is important in being a poet, why the word is still taboo, what permission, encouragement, listeners, a community, readers, writing groups mean. We want readers of our work, and we want to read others. It’s a metaphysical exchange, as in love, as in love making.

Then in the second half of this afternoon session we will write the poem we have always wanted to write but for whatever reason have not. Begin thinking now what this is or might be. Hold this assignment in your heart, mind and soul until we meet, then write it in one, nonstop, session.