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LITerari.us magazine features the writing of the students of Laura Lentz’s LITerati.academy.

 

This Issue: The Universe & You

The Sacred Poetics of Story: a memoir writing workshop

Writing is a Commitment to the Soul


 

For writers, seeking out poetry is as essential as breathing in between sentences.  Poetry show up in every memoir class I teach, but when we practice bringing poetic expressions and techniques into our essays, our memoirs and even our business writing, we begin to create unforgettable stories and poetry that will live long after we are gone. By studying contemporary poetry, and practicing incorporating these techniques, our writing becomes musical, with stored magic inside them. Our words reach the depth of who we are and wake us inside a beautiful dream.

Poetic techniques make language easier to remember or take to heart. Poet Emily Warn reminds us – “Poetry can leap across and change the synapse between us and the world, altering both.”

When we open our selves to a new way of writing, when we invite language to dance, we leap into something new – surprising ourself and our readers.  There is a famous zen saying that opens poet Kim Addonizio’s book Ordinary Genius

“Leap and the net will appear.”

 

When you commit yourself to writing, the story appears.

 

When writers explore their stories through metaphor, rhythm, vibration and the natural world,  the magic is accessed, and that magic  reaches into the deepest roots of humanity – our writing becomes a seismic vibration.

Poet Rainer Maria Rilke writes “There is no place that does not see you, you must change your life” at the conclusion of a his poem “Archaic Torso of Apollo”, that line follows us through our lives on our personal Hero’s Journey, – to the airport, to college, maybe even to divorce court – we tuck our favorite poetic words into our souls and they feed us when we most need to turn to them.

Being inspired by poetic forms helps us open to the person we truly are and write our own stories – to embrace all the phases of our challenging journey and show the world our whole selves.

 

Poet Laureate Tracy Smith reminds:

 

“Poetry awakens our senses, frees us from the tyranny of literal meaning

and assures us of the credible reality of emotional truth –

puts us in touch with something bigger than language.”

Guest Poet and Author – Katie Ford


 

Poet and author Katie Ford has a masters of divinity from Harvard, and the divine shows up in all her work.  One night, while putting together the curriculum for my love course, I stayed up all night reading her poetry. Discovering a new poet that resonates for me is like finding a new country, and I want to share her with the world, but especially my students. I called Katie, who is a teacher, and she immediately said yes, she’d love to talk to my students taking this course.

Katie’s book Colosseum, which was named “Best Book of 2008” by Publishers Weekly, explores the theme of ruination and pulls from Ford’s personal experiences as a resident of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina drove thousands out of their homes. The New York Times Book Review stated that Ford’s poetry, “possess[es] the veiled brilliance of stained glass windows seen at night.” With short lyrical poems, Storm continues on the theme of ruination with a focus on the efforts to escape New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Ford’s poem, “The Soul,” from her most recent book, Blood Lyrics (Graywolf Press, 2014), is below.  Katie will be discussing writing about storms and tragedies, and how our chaotic life events intersect with the divine to create sacred work.

The Alchemy inside our Writing Community


 

When we tell our same stories over and over, those stories grow like a beautiful strong plant, the roots of the stories going deeper with every retelling. And something else happens, those stories become a powerful mythology, where the magic shines out of words and paragraphs, swirling around the reader like owls or fireflies, filled with symbology and magic.

Writers come to our writing community to be in the practice of creating new material each week, to write inside a developed curriculum designed to teach through contemporary poets and authors as inspiration to create your own unique story.

By participating in these live classes, you learn the art of writing by practicing, deeply listening, reading out loud and hearing what is good in your story.

 

Seven online classes and one Kauai class  


 

The writers who have participated in my classes for the last ten years are influenced every week by poetry.  Each week as part of the themed curriculum, I read carefully chosen poetry and excerpts out of memoirs to support the theme of each class.  Through this practice of creating and deeply listening, writers begin to bring poetic form into their work.

Each group is an intimate group of 8 to 10 writers who work closely together for six weeks, deeply bonding and supporting each other’s creative leaps. Writers who must miss a class may audit another live class on the schedule.

 

Learn in a Small, Live, Intimate online group   

 

Each week you will take the class with the same students,  writing together and sharing your stories in a 2 hour to 2 1/2 hour class. If you have to miss a week, you can audit the class with another live group on another day, or receive the class via Keynote.  Writers learn from the curriculum, but also from the feedback you receive from other writers, and hearing what works in the stories created by the writers in the community.

 

Become part of a larger, active writing community online 

 

Between 80 and 100 writers will be taking the same class as you, taught in small groups. Throughout the week, stories are shared in a private Facebook group just for writers taking this class. If you choose to participate, you will  receive additional feedback on your writing throughout the six week course.

 

Create Content for a larger body of work

 

Though writing is a practice, in this group you have the opportunity to create content if you are working on a book. Many of our students have gone on to publication through this process of writing every week, and many of our writers are authors often writing beside writers who are new to the practice. We all learn from each other’s work each week.

Poetic Forms explored in class include the following:


DUENDE – Writing Deeper into the Mysteries: Your story or poem may seem like one theme, but watch it transform into another through Duende. Poet Lorca wrote it is  the mischief maker, guardian of “the mystery, the roots fastened in the mire that we all know and all ignore.”

CROUCHING INTO THE QUESTION MARK – How to use questions (and sometimes answers) in your writing to create beautiful stories. Using questions as a form also invites us to not have resolution in our stories, but instead stand inside what we don’t know for sure and may never know.

SEXUAL POETICS –  inviting body and sexuality inside our stories and poems is a way to disrupt what the reader expects.  It’s confessional and opening and often takes the writer to an unexpected place that has nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with the stories we need to write.

ENDURANCE THROUGH ADVERSITY – Poets like Adrienne Rich and Lucille Clifton show us through their work the most important lesson: endurance through adversity. From these poets we will strengthen our voices. In this class we will explore the teeth and the mouth of the world, injustices and the growth that comes from injustices (race, gender, sexuality), and then transcend those barriers through story.

ALL LIVING THINGS: LINKING THE UNIVERSAL & THE PERSONAL – In my own essay writing, when I’m able to start personal and transition to all living things, I create the bridge that invites us to examine our personal experiences are also universal.  We take the lens and we focus in, then out, or out, then in.  I learned this by reading poetry since I was a small child. We will study poets that do this well and practice, and in our stories and poems, we will offer a gem of wisdom to our readers.

NATURE AS TEACHER – Nature continues to be our greatest teacher.  We will explore all the ways writers can use nature as a metaphor and as a teacher to help readers drop into the essence of a story.

 

 

 

Books for this class


 

ABOUT MY WRITING WORKSHOPS

 

Syn-creation – Why writing is a communal act


 

There is a magic that happens with intimate groups of writers creating together.  I call it Syncreation – we are all writing on the backs of writers who came before us and influenced by the energy of the writers we are creating beside.  When writers of all levels join each other to create (published authors beside someone new to the craft), it is a reminder we all have something to learn from each other. Often I am asked where I learned to write, and my answer is simple:

I learned to write from my students.

Our writers join our online groups from all over the world – England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Greece and throughout the United States. Our writers are actors, plumbers, hairdressers, architects, marketing executives and published authors.  All the writers, regardless of their background, come to the groups ready to write and create new material.

The time to join our writing groups is when you know it’s time to get your story onto the page.

 

2021 – a Breakout Year for Story 


 

I not only survived 2020, but I, along with a committed group writers, blossomed that year through story.  The year reminded us how deeply connected we are to each other, and story is part of the deep connection. This is an invitation to the writer who knows it is time to write and create a body of work in 2021, or step up your weekly practice. In this class, writers will explore new ways of accessing language into your story, while creating work that can a foundation of work to be published.

 

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting

to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. The key for writers is to look at that 

shoreline again, with context and wisdom,

guiding the reader to the next shoreline, and the next

Writing Teacher: Laura Lentz


Laura Lentz is the author of  STORYquest, the Writer, the Hero, the Journey. Laura is a writing coach and developmental editor, teaching creative writing workshops online and on the north shore of Kauai for ten years. Her workbook helps writers write to every stage of their story inspired by the Hero’s Journey through 12-weeks of writing prompts and examples out of best selling memoirs and poetry. Laura helps writers create content and expand their body of work through unique methods – offering challenging and thought provoking writing prompts inspired by poetry, mythology and segments from literature.

Laura creates the curriculum for the 6-week writing workshops also taught by Guest Teachers.

Her exploratory writing workshops include The Grace of the World, soon to become an anthology of the best of her student work publishing in 2021. The book of essays written during Covid is like a love letter to our beloved earth.

Laura’s 6-week workshops are online and on the north shore of Kauai. Laura serves on the faculty of The Kauai Writers Conference and is conducting a Master Class for writers who want to write in sacred places on Kauai and allow Kauai’s beauty to influence their work.

LauraLentz_sepia

Meet our Educators:


 

Every six-week class series, educators work with writers in small groups with Laura’s curriculum. These educators are part of the larger writing community and have worked closely with Laura to bring her content to a wider community. Writers, authors and teachers, Laura’s educators are trusted facilitators, ready to create content with you and invite you into our larger community of writers.

Meet Robin Gadient

Robin Gadient, teacher of STORYquest, the Writer, the Hero, the Journey is continuing teaching the Love writing course, because love is such an important part of the Hero’s Journey. Robin has been writing in Laura’s writing groups creating poetry and heart opening stories for several series. Sometimes the student becomes the teacher right before your eyes.  Robin graduated from UCSB with a BA in literature. Robin has the uncanny ability to hold space for all writers and respond in a way that creates the needed energy to create her community within a larger community.

Meet Beth Dyer

Beth Dyer has joined our writing community, teaching a Saturday morning class for our Love series. Beth has taught middle school students writing, world literature, and art. As a lifetime lover of literature and writing, Beth designed curriculum and taught workshops UC Santa Cruz.  Beth’s passion for teaching is now turned to our writing community, where she will create a safe and inclusive environment to write and share.  Beth lives in Santa Cruz, CA where she raised her daughter and son. She has two grandsons and recently welcomed her first great-granddaughter. Beth holds three teaching credentials and has an MA in Teacher Leadership from San Jose State University.

CLASSES TAUGHT BY LAURA LENTZ for this series are Sold Out

Teacher Robin Gadient still has a few spots open!

Thursday Online –  

SOLD OUT

with Laura Lentz

April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6th

6 weeks


4 pm PDT / 7 pm EST
Class is 2 1/2 hours long

$220

SUNDAY online –

SOLD OUT

with Laura Lentz

March 28th, April 4th 11th, 18th, 25th, May 2nd

6 weeks


10:30 am PT / 1:30 pm ET

Class is 2 1/2 Hours

$220

Monday Online –

SOLD OUT

with Laura Lentz

March 29th, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3rd

6 weeks


4 pm PDT / 7 pm EST
 Class is 2 1/2 hours long

$220

Tuesday Online –

SOLD OUT

with Laura Lentz

March 30th, April 6, 13, 20 27, May 4

6 weeks


4 pm PDT / 7 pm EST

 Class is 2 1/2 hours long

$220

Wednesday Kauai & Online (& living room) –

SOLD OUT

with Laura Lentz 

March 31, April 7, 14, 21, 28, May 5th

6  weeks


5:30 pm — 7:30 pm HST  / 8:30 pm – 10:30 p.m. PST

 

$220

CLASSES TAUGHT BY ROBIN GADIENT

Friday with Robin Gadient online

Friday 11:00 a.m. PST 

TWO SPOTS AVAILABLE 

April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7th

6-week series

Class is 2 1/2 Hours

$220

Saturday 10:30 a.m. PST / 1:30 p.m. EST

with Robin Gadient

ONE SPOT AVAILABLE

 April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1st, May 8th

6 week series

Class is 2 1/2 Hours

$220

The Poet 

by Jane Hirshfield

She is working now, in a room
not unlike this one,
the one where I write, or you read.
Her table is covered with paper.
The light of the lamp would be
tempered by a shade, where the bulb’s
single harshness might dissolve,
but it is not, she has taken it off.
Her poems? I will never know them,
though they are the ones I most need.
Even the alphabet she writes in
I cannot decipher. Her chair —
Let us imagine whether it is leather
or canvas, vinyl or wicker. Let her
have a chair, her shadeless lamp,
the table. Let one or two she loves
be in the next room. Let the door
be closed, the sleeping ones healthy.
Let her have time, and silence,
enough paper to make mistakes and go on.

The Soul, by Katie Ford

It disappeared.
It reappeared
as chimney smoke
that burnt through carcasses
of swallows stilled,
and that it portrayed no will
was why I followed that smoke
with this pair of eyes.

It was that it didn’t need
or require my belief
that I leant upon it
as a tired worker
upon
a gate.

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