The Sweetest Taboo: A Generative Writing Workshop
The Writing Salon
5-WEDNESDAYS: OCTOBER 4-NOVEMBER 1, 2017
OPEN TO ALL LEVELS & WRITERS
LOCATION: 2121 BONAR STREET, STUDIO D, 2ND FLOOR; BERKELEY, CA
COST: $274.35 (MEMBERS); $295 (NON-MEMBERS)
“If I tell you how I feel / Will you keep bringing out the best in me?” – Sade
“There are these silences we carry that are our own, societal, and inherited that stop us from writing,” says instructor Arisa White. “The voice in your head comes on and warns, ‘You can’t write that,’ and you are stalled in your expression, anxious you have broken the rules, gone against some controlling force. However, engaging those taboos will ultimately free you creatively.”
During this five-week workshop, your writing will be inspired by five of your own personal taboos—the things you do not write about due to fear of what others may think, of it being too near to your heart, of shame. “Because I believe the fear is more associated with how to write such subjects,” says Arisa, “you will be given strategies for how to craft writing that is emotionally balanced and imagistically rich, strategies that will create an experience for readers to confront their own taboos.
“To guide you through your difficult terrain, so you can arrive at your own stride, I will include directed breathing and movement activities to help situate you in your body before the writing begins. Doing so creates spaciousness from which to resource your creativity and to connect the writing to more than just the mind’s story, but the bodymind’s story. I will lead you through a series of questions to generate writing—questions that approach the subject from unexpected angles and perspectives—in order to foster a fresh way of sensing the experiences you intend to bring to the page.”
Know Thyself: Poetry of Personal Witness
Fine Arts Work Center
24 Pearl Street Online Writing Program
4-WEEK WORKSHOP: OCTOBER 30-NOVEMBER 24, 2017
(15% Discount Code: KNOWTHYSELF)
CLASS SIZE: 15
Those silent places we inhabit are places where we can learn to better listen—to self and to others. In this workshop we turn within, using poetry to cultivate greater attention and embodiment. You will incorporate a daily mindfulness practice into your writing process. You will be provided with essays and talks by such writers and thinkers as Audre Lorde, Laraine Herring, and Sensei. angel Kyodo williams on topics ranging from writing with the breath to the transformation of silence to the power of radical love.
Such texts will offer opportunities for you to engage routes of critical personal inquiry, helping you to find source material for your poems. Examples from contemporary poets delving into their own subjectivity will model for you ways to begin and language that is emotionally rich and speaks distinctly of one’s life.
In a workshop about witnessing and transformation, I’m interested in having you shift the grammar of your lives to the anagrammatical. Anagrams are fascinating because they teach us to see how letters can be rearranged to give us another word and therefore another meaning. This can help you create different associations, alert you to memories you may have redacted, and alter how you’ve perceived events that have shaped you.
This workshop is perfect for beginners and advanced writers wanting to find fresh ways to write about experiences that have impacted you deeply but you’ve avoided, and memoir writers who want to write across genres to emotionally access memorable events that you find difficult to render in prose.
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Poetry Manuscript Consultations
For poets interested in getting feedback on their manuscripts, email me, and let me know about your project and we can go from there.
In LitHub’s “30 Must-Read Poetry Debuts From 2015” Lynn Marie Houston, author of The Cleaver Dream of Man, writes: “The Clever Dream of Man was a product of the Juniper Summer Writing Institute where I had a manuscript review with Arisa White. I handed her what I feared was a random collection of pages—essentially all the poems I wasn’t afraid to show someone. I expected her to say, as other participants had heard, that what was there was not united by a common theme. Instead, she talked to me about the collection’s global theme of my relationships with men and the sub-themes of adultery, death, and betrayal. After receiving her input, I divided the book into three parts: poems about family, friends, and lovers.” Read more here.