Poetic Practices


Forming the Imaginal


Writing poetry is a practice that wakens and quickens your creative life and begins to reveal to you your metaphors for living and your inner voice. When we write poetry, we pay attention to the words that shape our experience.


It is said that poets are born in childhood, so don’t worry if you’ve never written poetry before. You have poetry in you. In these classes I am offering a guided practice designed around experiments in poetic forms and poetic process. You will be practicing the tools and options of this art form that have their versions in any art form. I will be listening for your voice, your metaphors, and your stories to emerge. These particular ways you express yourself are your poetics. I bring my experiences as a teacher and writer to this transformational process. You can learn craft and the names of poetic devices many places. At Psyche's Horse the road is to learn about your poetic voice within a co-creative relationship with me and other poets.

if you are already a writer, poetry can sharpen your writing skill. More than any other practice, poetry focuses on language and how we use it. If your practice is in another medium crossing into poetry can show you your creative process in new ways.

Brigid Yuknavitch  Ph.D. Literature in Poetry and Poetics, Brandeis University  Author: Lives of the Puzzleworkers  Trainer, Educator, Practitioner Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy  Counselor: Jungian, Gestalt Orientation

Brigid Yuknavitch
Ph.D. Literature in Poetry and Poetics, Brandeis University

Author: Lives of the Puzzleworkers

Trainer, Educator, Practitioner Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy

Counselor: Jungian, Gestalt Orientation

Co-active Practice

A co-active practice is different than critique or editing. One-on-one and in classes I respond to your work as a reader. I have found that editing can come too soon and interfere with a writer's own connection with their work. When you write from your own deep experience you will find your best art. As a highly experienced reader of poetry I can sometimes see forms that are emerging or directions the work is going or how you are experimenting in ways other poets have experimented. I can encourage you to do more of what you are doing. Sometimes I can see what the poem is saying in ways you don't--yet. Sometimes I can watch your back for you. In the online classes this co-active process has the added range of other voices and other people experimenting with the same forms or questions. Then the learning is exponential. . . .

. . . .
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:

I am living, I remember you.

Marie Howe -- From: What the Living Do


Language finds a body in poetry.


Online Classes and Workshops

As you move toward the wholeness of the poem, you move toward your own wholeness.


Online Classes

Working with writers who are exploring the same structures or challenges makes everyone a teacher and participant. As we see the many different responses to experiments and witness our own and others' poetic practice, our collective work shows itself. You receive responses from me and at least two other participants and we learn from poetic practice together.

A poem creates a voice that has never been heard before.


Poetry as Practice


I first memorized poems for school. I learned by "heart." I remember saying the poems over and over until I didn't have to think or remember because they were by heart, beating in me.

I wrote so that there would be someone to tell. I wrote songs so that I could be held by the music. I sang so that I could be loud and beyond myself.

I first taught poetry in college. As we sat around the seminar table I thought "this is what teaching can be--a gathering around what matters to us all." There was no finishing in a poetry class. We took our questions on with us.

I write to encounter what is other in me. I write to slow down, to take in, to find form for the imaginal in me.

Click on  "Poetics"  in the header for weekly practices to try related to the blog posts.

Next Door     Brigid Yuknavitch  
  We were afraid,
  the walls were so thin and
  it could be rage (or love?) passionate
  against them.
  Or could a bird be winging its life
  against glass, not able to see
  its own reflection in the pane,
  refusing to live like a small body
  so its bird bones shatter?
  There is a bird in the house
  winginig its life against the walls.
  If the window were open this would be flight.
  If the room were moving the bird would be 
  its heart
  beating. If the windows or the doors
  could speak for us they would say
  wait, we will go with you.
  There is a bird in the house
  winging its life against glass.
  It could be rage (or love)
  that will shatter us.

"we don't even know we're born"
- Jean Valentine, poet


If I'm lonely
it's with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it's neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning

Adrienne Rich - from: Song