We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of
horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of
things [but] there are times when we stop. We sit still.
We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We
listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to
So this is good! You are thinking of starting a Poetry Circle and you are casting about for ideas.
I’m going to take just a minute to brainstorm with you about how I develop themes for the gatherings that I plan.
There is a brief film called Everyday Creativity that I love, made by DeWitt Jones who is well known for his photojournalism career with National Geographic. One of his 9 key points for being Creative is “putting yourself in the place of most potential”. What a game-changing idea that was for me!
One of my friends has called me a “bird dog” because it’s fun to sniff around until I find the prize…here’s a shortcut to sniffing from me to you!
Oprah Winfrey’s online newsletter can be emailed to you with some highlighted articles to tempt you to visit the site. Her writers are masters of the “5 things you should know” and “7 things every spiritual person must do”. While this may not be your style, these articles can be scanned in a moment if they seem to lead to a concept or resources that help you to plan your circle. The article Words Every Spiritual Person Needs To Know, for example, could easily suggest a theme for each word described…I would begin to collect poems that wrap around a theme such as “Kavod” which means “the awareness of the importance of things” or “Ruach” which is “An explosive, expansive, surprising, creative energy that surges through all things, holding everything all together and giving the universe its life and depth and fullness.” You see the possibilities!
I keep a desktop file of concepts, words, and even phases like those above that shimmer, challenge, exhort, hit me over the head or somehow make me go Hmmm. When I don’t have an idea… I turn to that list and start noodling around the theme, going through my desktop file of poems to see what might combine well. See my current list of potential themes on the site here.
Also, I use my facebook page to bring me free gifts from the universe – poems or quotes or even photos that can become part of a gathering. Sometimes I’ll put an appropriately themed quote on the cover of the handouts that contain the poems we’ll dive into that day, and it helps to set the tone before we’ve even begun. An hour spent liking pages related to poetry or spirituality can have a rich yield. I especially enjoy the poems that Parker Palmer posts, but there are many excellent pages that will stimulate your development of your Poetry Circle.
The Writer’s Almanac offers a poem a day that has been vetted by Garrison Keillor, and I signed up to have it delivered to my email. If you don’t want to clog up your inbox with a daily email, you can create a folder in most emails where they will land automatically and then go through them at your leisure.
This WordSPA site has links to some great webpages featuring poems that will help you to create the healing, prayerful, meditative and wryly humorous look at life and spirituality that has so enriched my life—and will round out your life too! Blessings on your poetry circles, ministry, and personal adventures with words!
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This material is created by Kim Langley, M.Ed. for WordSPA and is being used with permission if it includes the following contact information: Find Kim Langley and WordSPA at www.WordSPA.net. Call us at 216-226-3351. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org