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Sorrow is how we learn to love.

—Rita Mae Brown, Riding Shotgun

 

 

If sorrow is how we learn to love,

then let us learn.

Already enough sorrow’s been sown

for whole continents to erupt

into astonishing tenderness.

Let us learn. Let compassion grow rampant,

like sunflowers along the highway.

Let each act of kindness replant itself

into acres and acres of widespread devotion.

Let us choose love as if our lives depend on it.

The sorrow is great. Let us learn to love greater—

riotous love, expansive love,

love so rooted, so common

we almost forget

the world could look any other way.

 

Stolen Hour

 

for Danny, Wendy & Art

 

 

The breeze was warm

and the day was hot

and the shade on the porch

was generous.

It was nothing magic.

It was total magic—

each moment, each word

a spell.

We spoke of news

and poetry, we spoke

of healing and loss.

It was forgettable.
I will never forget it—

the hush of our voices,

the currents of laughter

that wound around

the trees and the willows,

surrounding us like moat.

How could we predict the moments

that shape us the most?

The dogs lying at our feet.

The summer just starting

to burn.

 

 

Once Upon A

 

 

Because you are the porch,

I am the rocking chair.

 

Because you are the pen,

I am the unfinished poem.

 

In the conversation of what happens next,

I am always the pause.

 

I am always the pause

and you the verb.

 

And if there should be a run on sentence

that jogged right through the

 

end of the story, way past the end,

well, I would not be the period.

 

But I would be ever after.

And I would be the one still listening after that.

 

 

 

 

Flourish

 

 

 

Whatever it is inside the larkspur

that says grow, grow, grow,

I want to know it, too. Want

to obey the voice that urges me on,

even in frost, even in rain.

I want to rise out of my own dried debris,

want to know how it is to die and return,

new and yet somehow the same.

 

And what is it that fuels the drive?

I want to know that— the divine

encouragement that knows

when to wait, when to push,

when to wilt, when to flourish,

when to swell into oh! bright bloom.

 

 

 

Perhaps we stumbled

on the words, perhaps

we forgot a note,

forgot a bridge,

bumbled our entrances,

fumbled our parts,

but we sang, oh yes,

we sang into the low golden light

of summer, sang

because joy, because

harmony, sang because

lonely, because fear,

sang because, tears

spilling down our cheeks,

we could sing, oh friends,

before we said goodbye,

we could sing.

 

Dear Friends,

A second section of The Practical Poet (a five-week writing workshop for poets of all levels) has opened on Wednesdays (June 3-July 1).

Mondays are full, so be sure to click on the link that says to register for Wednesday!

 

read-poetry

 

The more we understand how poetry works, the more playful we can be in our practice.

In this five-week writing workshop, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer offers strategies to help you wrestle more intimately, more proficiently with language. By increasing your knowledge of poetry’s hows, you can better serve your poems as they emerge.

Topics will be:

  • The Muscle of Metaphor
  • What’s in a Line?
  • The Joys of a Cage: Playing with Form
  • The Delight’s in the Details
  • The End: Ways a Poem Might Finish

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poems have appeared in O Magazine, TEDx, Rattle.com, in back alleys, on A Prairie Home Companion and on river rocks she leaves around town. She’s taught and performed poetry for Deepak Chopra, Think 360, Craig Hospital, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Weehawken Arts, Camp Coca Cola, meditation retreats, addiction recovery programs, hospice, universities, libraries, scientists and more. She’s won the Fischer Prize, Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, the Dwell Press Solstice Prize, the Writer’s Studio Literary Contest, and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. She served as Colorado’s Western Slope Poet Laureate (2015-2017) and co-hosts Emerging Form, a podcast on creative process. She earned her MA in English Language & Linguistics at UW-Madison. Since 2006, she’s written a poem a day. One word-mantra: Adjust.

IMG_6255

 

making up songs

as I set up the tent—

or a song making up me?

 

*

 

beside the lake

rowing the memory

of a blue boat

 

*

 

bald eagle dives into the lake

then rises quickly

in its beak, a heavy poem

 

*

 

sitting with a blade of grass

until it reads me a story—

once upon this morning

 

*

 

laughter in darkness—

this, too,

a kind of campfire

 

*

 

hiking through ponderosa

a subplot wonders

if it could become the main story

 

*

 

cold, clear night—

spiking my tea

with Cassiopeia

 

*

 

third morning camping—

waking up in a chapter

written before this one

 

The Practical Poet

Hi Friends,

I hope you can join me for two upcoming classes, The Practical Poet–a five-week writing class five Mondays in June, 1-3 p.m. MDT, and Poetry of Presence, a five-week poetry discussion series five Tuesdays in June, 3-5 p.m. MDT

The Practical Poet: Attending to Craft

The more we understand how poetry works, the more playful we can be in our practice. In this five-week writing workshop (June 1-29), Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer offers strategies to help you wrestle more intimately, more proficiently with language. By increasing your knowledge of poetry’s hows, you can better serve your poems as they emerge. Topics will be:

The Muscle of Metaphor
What’s in a Line?
The Joys of a Cage: Playing with Form
The Delight’s in the Details
The End: Ways a Poem Might Finish

Register Here.

Poetry of Presence: A Five-Week Discussion Class

For five weeks (June 2-30), we’ll immerse ourselves in mindfulness poems from the recently published collection Poetry of Presence (Grayson Books, 2017). Poets in the collection include Mary Oliver, Naomi Shihab Nye, Wendell Berry, Li-Young Lee, Raymond Carver, Ellen Bass, Lucille Clifton, Octavio Paz, Nikki Giovanni, Kahlil Gibran, Rumi, Billy Collins, Charles Bukowski, Marge Piercy, and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. As the editors say, these are poems that “inspire us to live better, and to make our world better; at the same time, they grant us a taste of being good enough, just as we are, in this world, just as it is.”

Each week, we’ll read and discuss these writings that, according to Fr. Richard Rohr, invite us to live undefended, poems that lead us into a deeper communion with the world.

Participants will need to purchase a book prior to the class, available for $21.95 online at poetryofpresencebook.com, through your local bookseller, or through Amazon.

Register Here.

While I heat curried asparagus soup,

my husband and son cover garden beds

with thick gray blankets.

I watch them from the kitchen window,

my son now taller than his dad.

How quickly he bolted, bolts still.

I think of the ways

we try to protect what we grow.

The threat of frost is real.

Like the bean sprout that didn’t make it last night,

despite the fact we covered it.

This morning it was waxy, shriveled, dark.

How quickly it died.

But because my husband made row covers,

everything else survived.

I would like to make a row cover

for my son, for the world—something

to protect against what is harshest, most cold.

Instead, I mix lemon juice, yogurt

and chives that we’ll swirl into the soup.

I can fortify him on the inside.

My husband tacks down the cloths

with hammer and nails—I think

of all that will be saved tonight.

We are charged to take care

of each other, the world. Impossible charge.

My son catches my eye and smiles.

stubborn praise

An evening celebrating new books of poems by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, James Crews and Danusha Laméris

Friday, May 29, 5 pm (EDT), 6 p.m (MDT), 7 p.m. (CDT), 8 p.m (EDT)

Invite yourself to an evening of poetry that wholly meets the moment, its losses and fears, and helps us also to see small kindnesses, stubborn blessings, and renegade beauty. After the readings will be conversation harvested from questions and comments in Zoom chat.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Hush, Middle Creek Publishing (available for pre-order)

James Crews, Bluebird, Green Writer’s Press

Danusha Laméris, Bonfire Opera, University of Pittsburgh Press

*

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BfRfnWWkQqe417F_QPQPiw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

*

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer lives in Placerville, Colorado, on the banks of the San Miguel River. She served as San Miguel County’s first poet laureate and as Western Slope Poet Laureate. She teaches poetry for addiction recovery programs, hospice, mindfulness retreats, scientists, women’s retreats, teachers and private students. She believes in the power of practice and has been writing a poem a day since 2006. She has 12 collections of poetry, and her work has appeared in O Magazine and on A Prairie Home Companion. Her most recent collection, Hush, won the Halcyon Prize, and Naked for Tea, was a finalist for the Able Music Book Award. She is the co-host of Emerging Form, a podcast on creative process, and co-founder of Secret Agents of Change, a group devoted to surreptitious acts of kindness. One-word mantra: Adjust

James Crews’ work has appeared in Ploughshares, Raleigh Review, Crab Orchard Review and The New Republic, as well as on Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry newspaper column. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD in Writing & Literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The author of three collections of poetry, The Book of What Stays (Prairie Schooner Prize and Foreword Book of the Year Citation, 2011), Telling My Father (Cowles Prize, 2017), and Bluebird, Crews is also editor of Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection. He leads Mindfulness & Writing workshops and retreats throughout the country and works as a writing coach with groups and individuals. He lives with his husband, Brad Peacock, in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Danusha Lamérisis the author of The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), which was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. Some of her poems have been published in: The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The SUN Magazine, Tin HouseThe Gettysburg Review, and Ploughshares. Her second book is Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press), and she is the 2020 recipient of the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award. She teaches poetry independently, and is the current Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.

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