The taste of a grape and the fragrance of a crushed mint leaf, help writers to compose poems.
On April 10, Portia Choi facilitated a workshop on “Writing Poems of Awe and Wonder” at the Art and Spirituality Center of Dignity Health, 2215 Truxtun Avenue.
Choi had the participants connect with their creativity through touch, taste, smell, sight and sound.
Choi started the workshop having the writers breathe slowly, feeling the air entering the nose, then gently exiting through the lips.
Then she recited poems by Don Thompson and Helen Shanley.
Then, Choi asked the participants to taste a grape or a chocolate candy bar. She had the writers roll the grape in the mouth, then bite on the fruit to release its juice.
Another exercise was to crush a mint leaf and inhale its fragrance.
The writers were also asked to look at one spot in the room. It could be part of a painting or the stained glass, or any other object in the room.
The participants commented on the workshop.
Annis Cassells said that it “was very worthwhile. It stimulated creativity by use of the senses. It reminded me to take time. I was able to write . . . reconnecting with sensory images by slowing down.”
Another participant, Diane Lobre said the workshop “encouraged creativity. . . with ways to challenge the senses into poems.”
Ron McGowan thought the workshop was informative. It “got my creative juices flowing,” said McGowan.
Barbara Burress said the workshop was “enlightening, fun and challenging.” Burress said that she “found out that she can still write poetry, and will continue to do so outside of the workshop.”
One of the participants, Stephanie Gibson completed two poems during the workshop. Gibson said, “It was special to voluntarily come together to write. Usually writing poetry is a solitary endeavor. It was refreshing and enjoyable being able to be in a place for writing in a group.”
The two poems that Gibson wrote at the workshop are “Fragility of a Poet” and “Primal Greetings.”
The Fragility of the Poet
By Stephanie Gibson
Cracker. Chipped. Dented & Scraped is Poet
Nursing old wounds
Caring for them daily, gently is Poet
Poet sees what others do not
Eye sight is really heart sight
There is silent weeping
The paper absorbs what pen pours out
Sensitive is Poet
Fragile is Poet
Ever transforming pain into meaning,
Mundane into significant,
Beauty into wonder
Already cracked, Chipped. Dented & Scraped is Poet
So new injury is substance
To be consumed, digested, and re-crrated
As an offering of grace
Fragile is Poet
Delicate and beautiful is she
Cracked. Chipped. Dented & Scraped.
By Stephanie Gibson
Dogs approach each other and sniff
They’re checking each others’ scent
Trying to know who they’re dealing with
What gift to humanity is your scent?
What’s your vibe?
Just give us a hint.
Is your energy that you exude
Love, acceptance, and a good mood?
When others are in your presence and they’re trying to get a whiff
Of who they’re dealing with
Is Kindness your special scent?
Is your attitude heaven-scent?
Is it communicating what you really meant?
“Snow on Elk Hills” by Don Thompson and “Lilacs” by Helen Shanley were featured at the workshop because they elicit awe and wonder.
SNOW ON ELK HILLS
By Don Thompson
Once in a decade maybe, the snow
falls here too, even here
on scrub ugly slopes where oil birds feed.
Not much. Just a dusting,
but sufficient to cool slightly
the overheated mind
of anyone who stops to look
long enough to see
that everything barren will be blessed.
From Everything Barren Will Be Blessed by Don Thompson. Pinyon Publishing
By Helen Shanley
I remember that lilacs enfolded the night
in a soft, June kiss,
a never-never land
of love in a candy store.
They floated like clouds of stingless bees
in mesmeric rivers of honey
around your tender face.
There was a sound like water falling
or clusters of little bells
or birds about to sing.
Sometimes I touch that lilac night
when your grave opens,
when dreams take us deep, deep
to love without time, without loss.