Poetics as Cosmology Workshop (Week 6)

How is a stance toward writing poetry a model for living one’s life? How can the act of writing spontaneously deepen one’s intuition/guidance/connection to one’s more noble self? In six weeks we’ll investigate several post-WWII stances toward spontaneous composition, read essays, poems, engage in writing exercises, discussion and have related outside-of-class activities suggested to deepen one’s relation to this stance.

Ideally participants would read materials in advance of the regular session and come ready to discuss.

Week Six, November 8-9, 2020

Questions, comments, criticisms, rebuttals.

Recommended reading/listening:

Brenda Hillman Interview – See also THIS and her Ecopoetics: A Minifesto. (Audio. Text.)

Michael McClure – Personal Universe Deck.

Audio of McClure’s Personal Universe Deck lecture at Naropa, June 16, 1976.

Discuss writer’s date, share poems.

Writing exercise: Erasure poem. See: THIS and THIS and THIS. Maybe THIS too. There are no good written instructions for this exercise that I could find on-line.

Homework to be done AFTER week SIX and BEFORE DEATH:

Fill out the “sense” grid with ten movement words (with no “ing” or “ly” words.) Add two words with parts of the body. (Yours, a lovers, or someone else.) Include some words for personal heroes or SHEroes, places in the universe, invented words, times of night or day, symbolic signs like astrological signs, totemic animals, birds and plants ONE abstract word that best illustrates your personal universe, then make a Personal Universe Deck. You can do it digitally (thanks to Ben Parzybok) here:


But there is something to be said about holding one in your hand. Once you have created your deck, you can festoon each cards with appropriate images POPO collage style and then use it as an aid in composition, as divination device, as something to hold in your hands and play with that’s not connected to the internet. Please send me a report of how you liked this class and how you are working with the materials.

I can’t tell you how inspiring you all have been. I am grateful for your participation and encourage you to consider (Serialty (A Workshop) four weeks, February 7-28, 2021 via Zoom. $128.50 (includes paypal fee) to pen@splab.org. (One of those Sunday nights is Valentine’s Day, so be aware.) In this workshop we will move from the materials shared in Poetics as Cosmology and begin to conceive of and implement a Saturation Job and/or Multi-Decade Research Project. This will require an understanding of the materials covered in the Poetics as Cosmology course AND materials to be covered in the Seriality (A Workshop) course. So, if you sign up, please do engage the materials and come ready to discuss them. This class is limited to 20 participants.