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I am Most I When You are Most You: Poetry, Prayer and the Language of your Highest Attention with Farnoosh Fathi
Jul 15, 2017 | 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Ich bin du, wenn ich ich bin— I am I when You are You. How is Celan’s statement an encouragement to do the simultaneous work of poetry and prayer? When are you most you in your process, in your life? What kinds of attention support, or obstruct you? What does the language of your highest attention look like? How do you write the poem that is most yours?
In this one-day intensive, we will consider poetry and prayer as receptive activities that require our total presence, require that we become fully ourselves. Our focus will be on creating, combining and considering our attention, with the goal of seeing how this effort, rather than forced determination toward a particular outcome, can be the real work of writing. The class will function as an extended meditation, incorporating a variety of meditative practices that deepen our poems, drawing on Hui Neng’s Platform Sutra, G.K. Chesterton’s St. Francis of Assisi, Flannery O’ Connor’s A Prayer Journal and teachings by Corita Kent. Readings will form a base for our own meditation, including selections from Gertrude Stein’s Stanzas in Meditation, Celan’s Breathturn to Timestead, Dylan Thomas’s “Vision and Prayer” and Sister Wendy Beckett’s meditations on art and prayer. We’ll also read gathas, canticles and poems by Anchorites, Zoroastrians and the anonymous.
Farnoosh Fathi is the author of Great Guns (2013). She’s the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Poetry Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and the MacDowell Colony, and her poems, translations, and prose have appeared in Boston Review, Fence, Everyday Genius, Poetry, Jacket2, and elsewhere.