Poetry as a Contemplative Practice

6 Wednesdays, from 10:30am-1:30pm, starting January 15th
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

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. We'll consider poems not only as something that we make happen and control but also as an organic occurence, something that you prepare the ground for so that our poems can emerge and surprise, teach and delight us. 

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 both in the generative process and in the revision process.

The first part of class will include a short meditation, writing prompt, and time to generate new work. Then we'll look closely at a model text. Possible authors we'll read include Rumi, Basho, Whitman, Dickinson, Hopkins, Rilke, Neruda, Mistral, Mary Oliver, Lucille Clifton, Joy Harjo, Ross Gay. 

The second part of class will be devoted to more traditional workshopping of poems students bring in that they've written at home. We'll offer critical feedback and insights into the craft of the poem in a mindful manner. We'll discuss--and practice--the ways in which revision can be part of the contemplative experience of writing. 

The class will 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. We'll experience how to use poetry as a way towards greater awareness and alignment, whether we're writing about the climate crisis, racial, social and economic injustice, or the wonder of the natural world or of falling in love. 

The class is for poets of all levels and also for writers who do not consider themselves poets but want to explore poetry for the first time or to help in the writing of prose. 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. 

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"


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


  • Poetry

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