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A highlight of summer was attending a poetry workshop at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. This beautiful 200-acre spiritual and educational center in the Hudson Valley has long been on my yearning list.
I wanted some formal training in poetry writing and found Richard Blanco’s weekend workshop–The Poetry of Expression & Connection: What A Poem Can Do for the World. President Barack Obama selected him in 2012 to serve as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, joining the ranks of such luminary poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. He’s published several books which I devoured before the workshop. Richard’s website describes his writings as “possessing a story-rich quality that illuminate the human spirit.” They do that and more and that is why I keep one of his books in my reading basket at all times.
We met Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. Our class was small with twelve students, perfect for a workshop atmosphere. Richard’s approach in writing poetry is using the five senses and having pin point descriptions. Our first assignment was to jot down three things we might write a poem about. I selected London, Grandma’s Table, and Family Farm. Then we chose one and worked on a list of the five senses with five descriptions under each one. The springboard for the poem was set. Each class session we reported back on specific assignments relating to our poem in progress. What was invaluable was hearing the instructor’s remarks to the other students as well as our own.
In the evenings, I returned to my little cabin in the woods and worked on a poem about my relationship with grandma. One evening when I sat on the porch I heard a rustle and a deer appeared at the corner of the cabin. I am not sure who was more startled! When he saw me almost touch him, he ran off before I could snap a photo. Over a decade ago Sacha, my life coach recommended Omega to me, knowing my soul would be right at home in the simplicity and beauty of this space. It indeed was.
Choosing this poetry instructor, this class topic, and this retreat location was not happenstance. Thank you grand universe for orchestrating this life-altering experience. I will write poetry the rest of my life.