From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Prickly Pear Poetry Project

       I've been wanting to post something for awhile about this ~ The Prickly Pear Poetry Project. That is the name of the non-profit I co-founded in 2008 with my friend Kyle Potvin. She and I met at local poetry readings and in time discovered that we both read and wrote a lot of poetry about cancer. Kyle is a breast cancer survivor, and I have lost several people including my husband to cancer. We talked a lot about how helpful this particular poetry had been and continues to be, to both of us, and we agreed that we would like to help other people who have been affected by cancer find the solace in it that we did. So we created a 2 to 3 hour workshop that we offer to anyone interested at hospitals, clinics, cancer centers and churches. These workshops are always powerful testaments to artistic expression as therapeutic for body and soul. We read poems to the attendees and then lead them in writing exercises. Sharing is always optional but most people chose to read their work, and some pretty amazing things happen. Please let anyone you know in the medical community that this workshop is available. We offer it free to anyone who would like to participate, and ask the facility to provide an honorarium to cover our expenses if they are able to pay. You can find us on Face Book too. Here is an example of a poem I wrote in one of the workshops that resulted from a writing prompt.


The Oncology Ward

The hall of oncology
feels like the corridor
to another alien place,
the exit sign so literal.
Tubes and hoses help
to hold you here,
while bells and buzzers beep
over gently asked questions
that doctors deflect
while the taste of regret
takes hold and chokes.

copyrighted material, please don't use without permission.

     Below is a link to the book that got me started on this path shortly after my husband's death nine years ago. I since got to meet Donald Hall. He was nervous about giving a reading so I didn't want to bother him with my Prickly Pear story, but I would like him to know. Maybe I'll get another chance...
     My next post will be about my trip to the Emily Dickinson Museum.



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