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  • Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

  • 29 June 2016
  • 09 August 2016
  • Online


  • $35 per week
  • $40 per week
We live in concentric circles, starting at our most local home of our bodies, and rippling out through our homes, communities, ecoregions, continents, planet, and the cosmos. Drawing on a bioregional perspective that home informs who we are and how we are to live, this class will bring participants together in council, creatively writing out our truths and into our questions to find companionship along and joy throughout the journey. The writing and storytelling prompts will be accompanied by occasional expressive arts explorations as we seek home through poetry, stories, songs, and other forms of TLA (your choice!). Along the way, we'll explore identity, callings, embodiment, personal history, ecology, and what it means to both live in time and place. 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.

Ah, not to be cut off,

not through the slightest partition

shut out from the law of the stars.

The inner -- what is it?

if not the intensified sky,

hurled through with birds and deep

with the winds of homecoming.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Week by Week

Week 1 / Home to the Body: Our Most Local Address: Our most intimate home is the local ecosystem of being a body. We'll romp and roll through prompts and questions about what our bodies have to say and how they say it over our history, and consider through what we create the possibilities of more embodied writing and living.

Week 2 / Dwellings and What It Means to Make a Home: What does it mean to live in a house, apartment, yurt or wherever you hang your hat and aim yourself toward a good night's sleep on a regular basis? Drawing on such works as Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, we'll write and play our way into the signs and symbols we find right at home and over time in our various dwellings.

Week 3 / Watersheds and Watershed Moments: Our homes are part of a watershed, the area that is drained by a river, creek, stream or other defining ground of our waterways. At the same time, we'll look at the watershed moments of our lives that changed everything, and how to gain greater vision of what such moments mean, and how to understand, honor, and learn from our inner and outer watersheds.

Week 4 / Ecoregions and Mapping Our Stories: Expanding out, we land in our land form, whether we live in the tallgrass prairie, the eastern woodlands, the Sonoran desert, the Rocky Mountains or elsewhere. In exploring a little more about the common plant and animal associations of your area, you can also cultivate greater connections with the more-than-human species among us. At the same time we look at mapping where we live in place, we'll play with mapping where we are in time by following the lines and curves of the stories we've lived.

Week 5 / Earth and Sky: We're part of an evolving, ailing, regenerating, suffering and changing planet. At the same time, the sky begins at our feet, and we live in weather -- both inner and outer. This week journeys into the centers of our earths and sweeps across the skies of our imaginations as we use our writing to connect with the larger planet and constantly shifting sky.

Week 6 / The Cosmos: The Visible and Invisible: Our plant floats in a vast universe, and beyond our universe, universes beyond universes, only a sliver visible to us. In concentrating on what we can learn about the cosmos and our local universe, we'll also journey through the cosmos of our infinite imaginations. This week also includes some circling back to body and place prompts to better see the concentric circles of home where we live, what we've created, and what calls to us beyond this call.

Who Should Take This Class

This is a generative class for all people who do, love, or want to discover more about the transformative power of language to connect us where we and who we are. This includes people who do TLA on the page – especially through poetry and memoir, fiction and playwriting since we'll be immersed in vivid descriptive writing and other arts – as well as for storytellers, songwriters and spoken word artists who want to develop a body of new work they can present aloud. Most of the exercises will give participants options to write in the genre of their choice.


This is an online class, yet we strive to come together in council, reaching across the miles to hold one another's words and reflect deeply on what we discover individually and together. Each week will include an exploration of a particular writer (in various genres), such as David Abram, Linda Hogan, William Stafford, Pattiann Rogers and others; a discussion on the craft of strong writing; several writing, storytelling and/or expressive arts prompts to lead you to your own best words; and a discussion question to ponder.

Each week, a new section of the course will open full of resources, reflections, exercises, discussion questions, and writing, storytelling and expressive arts prompts. Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, answering a discussion question, engaging in exercises, and responding to peers’ work.

About the Teacher

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13Kansas Poet is the author of 19 books, including The Divorce Girl,a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and five poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word and Image with weather chase/photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, particularly for people living with serious illness and their caregivers. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-leads Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. Caryn is a long-time organizer of the bioregional movement, and helped found the Kansas Area Watershed Council, an the Continental Bioregional Congress. She's also co-founder of the TLA Network and serves on the TLAN council. She lives just south of Lawrence with various humans and animals, in love with her people, place, community, and the big, wild sky. More at www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com.

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