Poetics as Cosmology

Poetics as Cosmology Workshops Fall 2022

June 20, 2022

One of the great developments of the pandemic has been the opportunity for distance learning. I’ve had an amazing time facilitating workshops that allow people with some sense of spontaneous composition to explore that realm more deeply. Starting with seminal essays like Projective Verse and Some Notes on Organic Form, we move into concepts like Serial form and the Saturation Job. Postcards are the gateway drug and registration for this year’s Poetry Postcard Fest (Year 16) ends July 4.

Please check out the workshop page here, or a review of my last book here and drop me an email if you have more interest, or look at the testimonial page from years past. I have been working with a group for two years and the poetry they are writing is quite inspiring.

One of the great joys of this workshop for me is in creating writing prompts for the attendees. I try to tailor the exercises to match the interests of each group and they are usually loaded with content, such as the Inside the Day Song prompt offered on June 11. These writing exercises offer some glimpse into how to live a life as a poet and are created based on the notion that writing is something more important than a popularity contest. I love what Robert Duncan wrote in 1955 about this reported in Lisa Jarnot’s wonderful biography The Ambassador from Venus:

What if poetry were not some realm of personal accomplishment, open field day race for critics to judge, or animal breeding show – … but a record of what we are, like the record of what the earth is is left in the rocks, left in the language? Then what do we know of poetry … compared to this geology? and how silly we must look criticizing … as if geologists were to criticize rather than read their remains (144).

My 27 year study of Projective Verse, especially as practiced by Michael McClure is the main motivation. This practice has been life-changing for me and when one gets to learn how to quell editor’s mind, it leads to deepening of one’s own vibrant intuition, which is a quality that becomes increasingly more important as life becomes less predictable. My 25 year association with Sam Hamill has helped me to understand what kind of commitment is required by those serious about poetry as a way of life.

Thanks for reading and consider registering for the course, or letting a poet friend know about this. Like the Poetry Postcard Fest, writers of all levels of experience are welcome. We only ask that you be open to this stance toward poem-making. It is transformational.



  1. Daniel L. Smith

    I have been writing poetry for well over 50 years. Many of my poems including the early ones were long poems. The long poems were influenced by Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg. I had some formal training in writing poetry at bread loaf writers conference three years in row during the 70s. And I taught the writing of poetry, creative writing, technical writing, research and report technical and professional writing, business writing, and the poetry all of these endeavors at the college level for many years. My post dock at the University of Michigan prepared me to teach technical and professional writing to other professionals; my dissertation was on creativity and madness; my writing at the time swung between those two polls no doubt. But nothing prepared me for what I experienced in Paul’s cosmology and seriality courses. He’s absolutely correct: if you want to transform the way you write poetry, and develop in uncluttered mind to write every day, then these courses are not for the faint of heart nor for the person who is serious about writing in iambic pentameter or free verse or anything else. Any preconceived notion that I had about writing poetry was ushered to an encyclopedia of past history by Paul’s course. He has a depth of understanding, a broad expanse of his own writing experience, and an absolutely marvelous internet-enabled zoom enabled reference library of first-hand experience from people who have succeeded at this. Success is writing the poem down or reading it aloud. It is not the number of likes that you get.

  2. Daniel L. Smith



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