Poetry as a Contemplative Practice

6 Wednesdays, from 10:30am-1:30pm, starting January 15th
GrubStreet HQ
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

Why do we write a poem? This class will look at not only the words on the page, but also the process of writing, and the relationship between process and product. We'll consider poems not only as something that we make happen and control but also as an organic process, something that you prepare the ground for so that our poems can emerge and surprise, teach and delight us. Writing classes often focus only on the craft—on what happens on the page—but in this class we'll focus on both craft and on process-- how we arrive at that point of communication, insight, expression, and how this process is itself part of the meaning of a poem. Poetry in particular is a process of translation: from the nonverbal world into verbal language; from the interior world to the page; from sounds to meaning; from author to reader. We’ll explore this process of translation.

We’ll also explore poetry as a practice that helps us pay better attention to the world around us and to the world within us—and to the connection between the two, and how to use poetry as a way towards greater awareness and alignment. How does poetry help us address the difficult realities of our world—from the climate crisis to racial, social and economic injustice to sexual violence and more?  And how does poetry help us understand and illuminate the wonders of our world? We'll look closely at a wide range of poems that we can learn from list of readings). We'll have some inclass writing time to experiment with different forms of writing (writing after meditation, writing from listening, writing from looking, etc) so that we can experience the generative process toegther. And we'll share and workshop work in a community that is supportive while also offering insightful feedback about craft.

The class is for poets of all level or writers who do not consider themselves poets, but want to explore poetry for itself or to help with the writing of prose. The class is designed to deepen students appreciation for poetry and for the act of writing itself. And students will come away from the class with a strong body of work and practices to take with them into the rest of their writing lives. List of works read: Rumi, Basho, Whitman, Dickinson, Hopkins, Rilke, Neruda, Mistral, Mary Oliver, Lucille Clifton, Joy Harjo, Ross Gay.

Please note: Class does not meet February 19th.

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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Nadia Colburn
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Frequent Deadlines"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • Writing Homework
  • Reading Homework
  • Revision Assignments
  • Instructor Feedback
  • In-Class Writing
  • Craft Lessons


  • Poetry

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