Fortitude

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Octavi Serra via Colossal.

To quote again from The Catholic Encyclopedia entry on despair, “the pusillanimous person has not so much relinquished trust in God, as he is unduly terrified at the spectacle of his own shortcomings or incapacity.”

I am sometimes unduly terrified by my shortcomings, and I do not trust God. But at my worst, for now, I remember that the one thing that I still control is whether or not I give in. And I go on.

From How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee.

The Heart of the Matter Reading on 1/18

The workshop that I taught at Wendy’s in the fall will be doing a reading at Wendy’s Subway on Friday, January 18 at 7pm.

I really don’t know how to rely how great this workshop ended up being. It was just the right mix of participants, all of them thoughtful and generous in their work-shopping approach and all of them great writers working on interesting projects.  If only I could teach a workshop like this all the time! Come hear what they’ve been working on!

Also, as a little bonus for me, I’m going to be reading some new work too. Would love to see you.hotm crop

Teaching Workshop at Wendy’s

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In November I will be teaching a four-week writing workshop at Wendy’s Subway.  Full description of the workshop is below. I am really excited to teach this workshop. Maybe you want to sign up?

The Heart of the Matter: A Workshop for Writings in Progress
Led by Jackie Clark
Dates: Sundays November 4, 11, 18, and December 2
Time: 1-3:30pm
Capacity: 12 participants
Cost: $100-200 total (sliding scale, $25-50/session)
Register here.

Part of the challenge that a poet faces is the need to distill their work down to the essence of whatever feeling or experience they are trying to capture/convey—what Graham Greene calls “the heart of the matter,”—while at the same time seeking to gain a fuller understanding of what is going on in their writing that they might not yet be fully aware of. Often, turning to reading that one feels a kinship to and discussing it with others can help generate new entries into one’s own work, bringing its gestures and objectives into clearer focus.

This four-week poetry workshop invites participants to share a specific work-in-progress of no more than 10 pages (chapbook excerpt, long poem, manuscript…), which could benefit from dialogue with others. We will think about how to construct this dialogue in studying writing we feel our own works have particularly affinity to, and developing vocabularies to discuss these kindred approaches and aesthetics together.

During our first meeting, participants will bring and share a piece of writing (of no more than 2 pages) by a writer other than themselves, whose work seems to exhibit the “heart” or aesthetics of what they are looking to achieve in their own writing. Together we will determine a vocabulary for what we value in that writing and discuss how we try to exhibit those values and make use of those strategies in our own work. We will then use this collaboratively generated vocabulary as a resource for understanding and talking about each other’s’ writing. The second and third sessions will be dedicated to workshopping each participants’ work, while the fourth will serve as a platform to share our newly edited drafts together during a group reading.

“If one knew, he wondered, the facts, would one have to feel pity even for the planets? If one reached what they called the heart of the matter?”

Jackie Clark is the author of Aphoria (Brooklyn Arts Press) and the chapbooks Office Work(Greying Ghost), I Live Here Now (Lame House Press), and Sympathetic Nervous System (Bloof Books). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Brooklyn Rail, The Tiny, and the anthology Ritual and Capital co-published by Wendy’s Subway and Bard Graduate Center. A new chapbook, Depression Parts, is forthcoming from dancing girl press. She works at Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts at The New School and teaches writing in New Jersey. She can be found online at nohelpforthat.com

Still Here & Romanticism

IMG_5382image via Mary Corse.

Deactivated my Facebook for a bit (forever?).

Also, rekindling my love of Raymond Carver, bumped into this poem like an old friend:

Romanticism

The nights are very unclear here.
But if the moon is full, we know it.
We feel one thing one minute,
something else the next.

What else is (my) life, if not this?

Spring

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

via Poetry Foundation