Turn It and Turn It: Exploring Questions of Spirituality & Religion Through Poetry
ASYNCHRONOUS with OPTIONAL LIVE ELEMENTS
“Turn it and turn it for all is within it,” said rabbinic sage Ben Bag-Bag about the Torah. Yet these words can speak to all religious texts and practices. For whether or not we believe in a religious tradition of our own, there we find the stories and rituals, commandments and prohibitions that have shaped the world in which we live. And in our month together, we’ll explore writing into and from these sacred stories, facets of mortality, ritual and religious practices, and theophany—the way the divine, however you define it, manifests in the world. As a model for your own poems, we’ll be delving into the work of writers who’ve grappled with these ideas and texts, poets such as Joy Harjo, Yehuda Amichai, Jane Hirschfeld, Jericho Brown, Naomi Shihab Nye, Matthew Olzmann, and others.
Intended for writers of all levels, each week will be a blend of close readings, spirited exchange, generative exercises, and group and instructor feedback on a new poem. Together, we’ll add our voices to a conversation that stretches across geography and time.
OPTIONAL LIVE ELEMENTS: On the evening of Tuesday, April 13, we’ll have an entirely optional meeting via Zoom. This will allow us to introduce ourselves in real time, discuss the course, and, if time allows, do some generative writing. .
Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), one of Library Journal’s Best Poetry Books of the Year and winner of the Devil’s Kitchen and Goldie Awards. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), a biography-in-poems of Georgia O'Keeffe, won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock-climbing instructor, bartender, and professor, and now serves as the Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she co-authored Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/PenguinRandomHouse), and is at work on a collection of poems exploring spirituality, Torah, and Midrash.