Writing Beyond Yourself: Prayers, Charms, Spells, Chants, and Masks with Tom Montag

If words have power, how do they move the world? What kinds of poems might do that? While we can’t pretend to be wizards or witches or shamans, this class will examine and foster poetry which takes the form of prayer or charm or spell, chant, and mask in order to work its magic. Students will read and discuss a selection of these various kinds of poems, and will write their own in their own voices, from the position of their own powers. Oftentimes we think the poem is about that which is within us; these sessions are meant to take the poet beyond himself or herself to where the word encounters the world. You might already be familiar with the power of prayer to move mountains, but we will add charm and spell and chant and mask to the methods available. Students should bring a notebook and favorite pen and should expect to write a lot and to share their work in a supportive environment. Other materials will be provided.