Earth Poetry: the Workshop
Seasonal “Earth Poetry” Workshops in Atlanta
Four times a year, I host an outdoor workshop for active and aspiring poets in the metropolitan Atlanta area, each time in a different protected urban wildspace. We have visited 25 of them so far, and I keep discovering more.
The workshop’s structure is simple. We gather in a spot suitable for sitting and talking. I share a sample of what I’ve been reading on the topics of nature, poetry, or both. Workshop participants are invited to bring something to share as well – poetry they have written or are working on, poems or prose by a favorite writer. Then we split up to wander by ourselves, observing, taking notes, soaking up the inspiration of the woods. When we re-convene, you are welcome to share what you have experienced or written, but this is not required. Feedback can be requested, either from the group or from me in a private session afterward.
There is no charge to attend, though donations are welcome. If you live in Atlanta, contact me to join the email invitation list.
“Introduction to Earth Poetry” Workshop
For a negotiable fee, I also offer a one-time presentation introducing the concept of Earth Poetry, tracing its origins to the “power songs” of Paleolithic shamans and its evolution through history to the present. This can be presented as a talk in an indoor setting (see Talks & Readings), followed by group discussion, or as a one-time adaptation of the Earth Poetry workshop structure above. I have experimented with conducting this workshop on a college campus, with limited success; there is no substitute for the open woods! I have also developed a version of it especially for children. Let’s talk!
Contact me to learn more.
A Country Beyond All Borders
Balancing on a footbridge of lashed poles,
hanging on to a handrail of rope,
I am crossing more than just a creek
and the miniature gorge it has dug
through the slow-trickling centuries . . .
I am stepping over the frontier
of light and shadow, crossing
an ancient threshold in my brain,
entering the sovereign territory of the trees.
Behind me in the sunny meadow,
artifacts of my own time lie scattered
in the weeds, rusting metal and fading ink,
relics of restless imagination
and intricate engineering
left where their usefulness ended.
On this side the treetrunks stand
in mysteriously random order,
their branches above me like rippling flags
of foliage, part earth, part wind,
their leaves underfoot like a carpet of memories.
I have left behind a familiar country
of geometric blacktop
to follow the crooked logic of water
cutting through yellow clay
as we meander together downstream.
Even the sky that gazes down between the leaves
contemplates me with a wild
furtive intelligence, nothing like
the imperial burst of daylight back there
in the civilized open.
The trees are small, barely older
than the next generation of loggers,
still colonized by plastic ribbons
and blazed with blue paint:
but in one long, slow breath I fill myself
with a half-remembered quiet, and feel them
open their lofty limbs
to take me in.
Here and there, like bright scars
among the patches of moss
and fallen branches, lonesome bits of trash
beg to be gathered up and carried home.
Click here to read Wing’s essay
“Legacy of the Shamans: The Earth Poetry Manifesto.”