Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Next Meditation and Writing Group Meeting on Saturday, August 6, 2016 in Shelburne Fall, MA

 [June writing group participants at the Shambhala 
Center meditating, photo by Jacqueline Gens]

Next month we will be meeting on the first Saturday, August 6, 2016 at our usual Shambhala Center in Shelburne Falls for meditation at 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Later on August 13,  I will facilitate a day-long workshop in Guilford, VT description listed here--Ordinary Mind, Sacred World.

The emphasis I encourage is a non-conceptual approach to the writing process based on my many years training at the Naropa Jack Kerouac  School of Disembodied Poetics and my working for the late poet Allen Ginsberg. Over the years as my own poetry craft has evolved, I've developed a number of tried and true methods that allow both beginner and seasoned writers to enter fully into what I call Poetrymind. Drawing on decades of resources I share with participants, we explore the various entres into the creative process that encourage a fresh perspective for our writing. 

For our July meeting yesterday, we gathered at our usual green market for lunch while we read our poems. It always amazes me that a particular theme emerges among all the different poems brought to the table. Listening to poems, I distinctly recollected Louis Zukovsky's slogan quoted by Ginsberg in his Mind Writing Slogans--"Only Emotion Objectified Endures." This slogan is a spin off on Pound's "only emotion endures."

Naturally, there are all sorts of discussion about what this means. In Barbara's 4/13 American Sentence below, one senses the pure objective declaration of externals that nonetheless show a deeply personal experience of lonliness. While, on the other hand, Donna's poem indicates a deeply personal catalog of internal observations. In any case, some interesting  considerations to regard as both caught us in their equally "vivifying" contents. 

Here is Donna D'fini's  poem she brought to us...(written in 1968!)


Looking on a thawing river in bright afternoon sun


The cat did not know how to lick tears, not gazed,
meowpurring (her sigh) into my face.

The Spring day pretended to be real, when really
the only reality is abstract, uncontained by time or place.

All the ideas of the day ebbed and flowed through my
mind's sieve, searching for gold particles of meaning.

People forget, people remember and it is all the same, as history
will tell you.....and why os the reality of alone so demeaning.

So hard to accept, that all public and secret western rituals conspire
to hide        the empty space.

Sometimes I can fill it with flowers or stars, both face in cycles
and the little cracks of emptiness show through my face.

It's not blue but colorless,
not black but colorless, 
not transparent but colorless
Hell is no color.

Whatever Sartre said - who lives in classrooms, stages
and dusty shelves  - no longer in deBeauvoir's memory...
now only memories of a dead lover. 

And then two more works from Barbara Paparazzo

April snow flurries, the fire gone out, by myself eating tangerines

Bushel basket empty
                        but with presence
just sitting there in the grass.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ordinary Mind/Sacred World, Meditation and Writing Workshop in Guilford, VT on Saturday, August 13, 2016

[Onions by Renoir]

Ordinary Mind/ Sacred World will explore through meditation, writing exercises and literary examples how tuning into the ordinary details of life can transport us into the luminous dimension of sacred world. Suitable for both beginning and advanced writers of any genre or spiritual tradition. 

DATE: Saturday, August 13, 2019
TIME: 11:00-5:00 PM, Lunch, snacks, and drinks provided
LOCATION: Guilford, VT (directions sent to registered participants)
COST: $90 for the day or by donation for those who need it. 
CONTACT: Jacqueline Gens, jacqueline.gens@gmail.com or 413-522-1125
LIMITED: Pre-registration/payment required limited to first 7 people

WHAT TO BRING: Cushion for meditation (ground or chair), writing materials, some of your own writing or work by others you greatly admire to share (with 9 copies) and special dietary needs.  

Jacqueline Gens has worked with poets and writers for over thirty years from the famous Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics to the New England College MFA program in poetry she co-founded with Vermont poet laureate, Chard deNiord. During the many years she worked for the late poet Allen Ginsberg, she began to study closely his Dharma Poetics Primer for writers--a great treasury of insights and notations into the sacred world of wisdom literature. A poet and papermaker, she currently conducts a monthly meditation and poetry writing group at the Shelburne Falls, MA Shambhala Center and oversees open studios and workshops in papermaking and contemplative arts at Khandroling Paper Cooperative.

Visit Pablo Neruda's famous Ode to an Onion in both English and Spanish

Friday, May 27, 2016

What's New in Contemporary Tibetan Poetry

[16th Karmapa reading at Latse] 

About twelve years ago I undertook an exhaustive study of Tibetan poetry in English as a subject for my MFA thesis.  Over the years, the Internet has became a main vehicle for dissemination of contemporary Tibetan literary works. You Tube, in particular, continues to provide a creative avenue of expression for Tibetan song writers from within Tibet as well as in exile. As experience has shown there is no more powerful vehicle of change than song. Read my essay here, "What One Tibetan is Doing for his People" on the power of song for social change and how this is impacting Tibetan culture.  

Here are a few recent online resources of interest I have compiled:

Big Bridge Press (online) Anthology of Tibetan Poets

An inspired reading by Tibetan poet Drugmo of Dhondup Gyal's famous Waterfall of Youth which I wrote about  back in April 2005 here on Poetrymind. 

A work in progress with more to follow....

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Next Meditation and Writing Workshop is Saturday, June 4, 2016

We continue to meet every first Saturday of the month at the Shelburne Falls Shambhala Center. Please bring your poems or work you find inspiring by others to share (9 copies).

Here's a poem I recently came across online I had never read before:

The Zen of Housekeeping
By Al Zolynas

I look over my own shoulder
down my arms
to where they disappear under water
into hands inside pink rubber gloves
moiling among dinner dishes.

To continue reading go to this blog A MInd of Being Here which is dedicated to poems with a 'mindfulness' emphasis.

You will also find on this link lots of other other related poems including, Happiness and Gone by one of my favorite poets, Malena Morling, with whom I worked a few years while co-directing the New England College MFA Program in Poetry until my retirement in 2012 (now defunct).

I love the way the most ordinary object or mundane event can transport us to a deep experience of sacred world or mystery.

Here is a wonderful Emily Dickinson poem #875, "I Stepped from Plank to Plank"

So now it is nearing June that time of Nearing Summer Solstice. I offer you my poem from a few years past:
Nearing Summer Solstice

At Tires for Less on Route 9
I wait to exchange snow studs
for all season tires past the April deadline--
A young skinhead,
with a spider web on his naked
elbow strips the lugs
which hit the floor as he moves on haunches,
feral menace with a drill bit.
I pace the pavement,
looking down at the Connecticut River.
At the edge of blacktop next to a field of low
lying wildflowers and scrub brush,
broken glass and butts indicate I'm not the first.
Two monarchs catch my attention, then flecks
of orange move among purple cones,
a different butterfly, with fur edges.
This day is long with light and I have time
to wonder how they know to convene
by the hundreds in this dump
oblivious to trucks and cars speeding past,
their movements counterpoint
to my own noisy impatience, calmed a moment,
until spider boy calls me over.

Reprinted from Connotation, November 2009

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Few Poems from our Meditation and Poetry Writing Group Meeting on May 7, 2016

Sleeping Geese

Canada geese are asleep on the river
under a warm October sun,
heads tucked under their wings,
neatly folded bodies bobbing gently
as they rest from a hard migration.
They left the blue north days ago
and soon will labor southward,
but today they are idling here.

The current urges them toward the falls,
yet each bird stays in place,
neither drifting downstream nor straining up.
Beneath the ruffling surface of the water,
shad and catfish swim
the green murk of the upper river.
Perhaps the moony globes of their eyes
see the pale yellow underside
of sunlight glinting on wavelets 

and black webbed feet
waving slowly back and forth,
the flock of geese sleepwalking together
to keep from slipping away.

by Sarah Doyle

V Day

Full Scorpio Moon
peaks at dawn

Ride in on that wave
mustn't PASSOVER

Even unleavened bread
kneads yeast


by Terry Carter

Chilly Spring Morning at Massacre Overlook, Canyon de Chelly

Interest ran high on the ledge
tourists peer hesitantly down into the deep canyon.
            buzzards circle
Little ones write signs in red sand,
Mother’s hawk juniper bead necklaces
Young man by river weaves
                        dream catcher from reeds
Sun at ten casts long shadow from Spider women rock.

Hieroglyphs visable on red rock at impossible height,
club footed Kachina,snake, helicoil,
petroglyphs with power lines,spider webs
De Chelly, Chaco, Orabi, Gila Bend 

News there
           letter unopened, unnoticed,ignored, denied
           sold in a gift shop
Sun rises
White horse stands midstream flanked by two burros 
drinking fresh dark water. 
Everything waiting.
Those who know are patient,
patient like massive red cliffs

Two German tourists squinting into the sun 
argue logistics of the slaughter at Massacre Rock,
muse on Kit Carson, admire their new cowboy boots and hats

A boy with dog, drifts off,
sits by grandfather,catching shade under a pinon tree,
not far from the careful gaze of mother’s third eye.

Jim Bauerlein