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Resistance, Resilience, Renewal: Poetry’s Power in Turbulent Times... In this course, we’ll take a journey through the tumultuous landscapes of contemporary society, guided by the bright beacon of poetry. Through readings, discussions, and provocative inquiries, we will uncover the ways in which poetry serves as a practical and potent force for res…
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What if we are up to our collective axels in mud? What if our political and ecological ideas, beliefs, and actions are getting us nowhere? What if we've got to get lost (on purpose) to actually move forward. What if a condition for sane progress is to first arrange for our own disappearance? What if philosopher-poet, Bayo Akomolafe is right when he…
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In these times of political, social, and ecological challenge and disruption, to what should we pay attention? Well certainly the ability to come back to our "center" is critical. In other words, having the ability to make our personal "optimal zone" a place where we spend more and more of our time. Solving your 37th problem is at the core of it al…
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Let's reimagine both hope and despair. Truth is, hope and despair make uneasy friends. Our categorical, binary culture, insists on our choosing one or the other. But what if both despair and hope live deep in our hearts and minds at this time? What if to be skillful and resilient in our lives, we must acknowledge and embrace both?…
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Real hope, meaning decent odds for passing through the coming political, social, and ecological bottlenecks we face throughout the world, will require a deep partnership between our minds and hearts. That is to say, our many civilization-threatening meta-crisis predicaments are too big, too mature, too complex for anything short of "artful" respons…
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Of course, there's no algorithm or "set of rules" for writing (or for that matter, discovering) beautiful, stunning, memorable poems. But after working with thousands of people and the poems they fell in love with, I've discovered a simple set of characteristics that can help. Three essential qualities that can point us toward the poetry we are muc…
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Of course, social media includes a daily diet of vitriol and shrillness. And there are perverse structural algorithms that reinforce the fomenting of anger, division, and fear as a way to capture human attention and ultimately make money. And yes, I also know there are deep human intentions to help and serve, evident on every social media platform …
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Your heart seeks its own reflected images. After reading and speaking at least a million lines of poetry, here are some of my favorite ones, and the poets who wrote them. I think you'll discover that when your heart finds those just right few written lines that speak your feelings, better than you’ve been able to speak them, you'll be smitten. Of c…
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Maybe a better strategic plan is not what we need right now. Maybe we need to get lost on purpose, to break away from the ironclad certainty of "doom" on one end and the "business as usual" denial on the other. Einstein said we couldn't solve problems at the same level of thinking that created them. And because we know it's true but won't admit it,…
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Our modern culture can no longer resolve the predicaments it's creating. The difficulties and tensions are playing out socially, economically, politically, and especially ecologically. And yet, there are sources of wisdom available to us. One source is the poetic tradition, which implores us to slow down, honor our intellects, yes, but also honor a…
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So here is the thing about being human. We are story-based animals. We become ourselves through stories. It’s the narrative pickle juice in which we marinate. We might not have direct effect on the juice of our big old social pickling project. But we can control our own little pickle jar. It’s juice. And if we practice, we can get a little more cal…
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OK, just get comfortable wherever you’re seated. It will help if your back is straight. If you can and it’s comfortable, close your eyes and take a few deep, cleansing breaths to center yourself. Allow your body and mind to relax, releasing as best you can, any tension or stress. Let’s start by simply hearing this brief poem in full. Then we'll pas…
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Our current economy is at war with the earth. Here's a story and vision, disguised as a poem to help us stay real, centered, and effective in these opportunity-laden, tragic, and yes, beautiful times. An era when our human agency is deeply required. (This episode is dedicated to the work of Lisi Krall, Professor of Economics at SUNY Cortland.)…
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If you have ever shared your home and life with a critter you loved, this episode is for you. What words might we choose to honor the animal beings that have given us so much happiness and joy? And, of course, grief at their passing. The cat, dog, horse, goat, cow, or creature of your choice that has become kindred spirits with those of us lucky en…
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What if an established norm in society, a hidebound institution, a way of thinking, or a whole economic system is simply wrong? (For example, the vastly ineffective way we are dealing with our climate and earth overshoot predicament.) Can Art (and poetry in particular) help set it right? Even "nudge" it a little bit forward and toward wholeness....…
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Forget the flashy courage of heroes. The poet calls courage an act of knowing, speaking, and following the deeper directions of the heart. It is the wisdom of enough. It is the wisdom of no separation. A simple and honest courage, that even we, the flawed, vulnerable, and ordinary ones, may actually be able to render, in this, our rocky, grieving, …
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When does a poem become "your" perfect poem? Most importantly, the poem must be relatable. It must not be closed-off and insultingly clear. The poem can make points, but not tip over into propaganda. It must tell a meaningful story using images, metaphors, big language. Perfect poems help us integrate head and heart, re-center, re-member who we are…
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We know what to do in traditional emergencies. But what of the confusion, fear, and often excruciating pain that defines the necessary emergence into a new ecological and planetary era? What moves will you make and what stories will you tell to help yourself and others stay calm and centered? What relationship and facility will you have with despai…
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In this episode we consider a world where activism has ceased to work, or work in the ways we wish and imagine. So what then? Are we ready? Of course not. Strategic plans may be contraindicated... Poet, Philosopher, Bayo Akomolafe (featured in this episode) describes Postactivism this way. "Postactivism, the concept that informs my notion of making…
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