“We are not the idea of us, not even the idea that we hold of us. We are us, multiple and varied, becoming. The heterogeneity of us. Blackness in a Black world is everything, which means that it gets to be freed from being any one thing. We are ordinary beauty, Black people, and beauty must be allowed to do its beautiful work.” Kevin Quashie describes in Black Aliveness, or, A Black Poetics of Being.
(Speaking about Robert Lowell’s poetry) “Lowell removes the mask. His speaker is unequivocally himself, and it is hard not to think of Life Studies as a series of personal confidences, rather shameful, that one is honor-bound not to reveal.”
M. L. Rosenthal’s article “Poetry as Confession.”
I’m taking a four week confessional poetry course with midnight & indigo. Founded in 2018, midnight & indigo is a small publisher and literary journal that provides a space for Black women writers to share their narratives with the world.
Tw weeks in and I’m loving the course, Tell Me Something Real: How to Write Confessional Poetry. Not only is the tutor, Schyler Butler knowledgeable, and thorough providing great examples for poetry within this genre all from Black women, but the group of writers signed up for the course bring it every week with their insight and feelings around each poem we read and discuss.
And then we get to trial out what we’ve learnt through these close writings within our own writing, as the sessions finishes with time to write a first draft of a poem and then share it with the group. I’m enjoying what I’m coming up with after being inspired. Because in all honesty, from time I’ve been a confessional poet but have never smashed the term on it.
Confessional poetry in essence can be distilled to 4 main components.
Be of an intimate subject matter.
Use the first person.
Be autobiographical or seen/ appear to be.
Use skilled craftsmanship.
I’m working on a new body of work now. So still in the draft stage but I’ll share a poem from time here, as evidence of my appreciation and dance with this form of poetry.
Within my family, there are white women. White women who married black men. I forget, neglect the fact that their blood flows through mine.
Trace the past, a sea of faceless white is mine. The black men forefront, a mist of women behind. Their names, I don’t know or forget.
They are the enigma, shadows. Forget the cleaning and cooking, their duty and mine, they went against the grain, steadfast women.
In the corner of the frame, you white women are not forgotten. Your spirit is mine.
As my great nana Rosa ( the wee ginger lass who hooked up with the Ghanaian sailor) used to ask, ‘How you fizzing?’
There was a time when people lived their lives in deep connection with the Natural world. We lived, worked, ate, and designed our days and even our homes around the cycles and seasons of the planet, in sync with the Earth we depend on. That connection kept us grounded, mindful, and, in many ways, healthier in mind and body.
Today, research shows that 93% of our lives are spend indoors – and that was before the pandemic!
You don’t even have to be a nature lover to know that can’t be good for us. In fact, we’re coming to understand that so many of the world’s most pervasive problems – from heart disease, depression, and poor sleep, to droughts, wildfires, and rising oceans – can be traced to our personal and societal disconnection from the Earth and from our own “true nature” as humans.
That is why I’m delighted to share with you today an upcoming event created specifically to address this damaging disconnection with simple, practical tools you can apply to your life right away – no matter how busy you are.
🌳 The Rise Up Rooted Global Wellness Symposium 🌳
Reconnect with the Earth, Reawaken Your True Nature, and Rewild Your Busy Life!
I’m proud to be a featured speaker at this event where I’ll be talking about healing with/in nature. I’ll be talking on WEDNESDAY, MAY 17th and it will be available for participants to watch for 48 hours.
And don’t worry – this event isn’t going to monopolize your week. Alex is committed to serving busy people so none of the interviews run longer than 45 minutes. So you’re sure to get all of the wisdom and none of the fluff.
Here are some of the other topics you can look forward to during this info-packed week:
🍃 Digital Detox: How to Rewild Your Brain and Body with Tracy James
🍃 Food, Nature, & Human Health with Robin Richardson
🍃 The Natural Path to Beauty & Self-Care with Face Yoga with Danielle Collins
🍃 Heal Your Home, Heal Your Body with Charlie Lemmer
🍃 Exploring Ancient Wisdom in Nature for Challenging Times with Beth Norcross
🍃 Pachamama is Calling with Mariela Maya
🍃 Nature as Creative Muse with Cathy Nichols
🍃 How to Use the Metaphor and the Wisdom of the Five Seasons to Guide and Inspire Us withKaryn Prentice & Elaine Patterson
🍃 Black British Women: Reclaiming the Landscape withSheree Mack ( WEDNESDAY, MAY 17th and will be available for participants to watch for 48 hours).
🍃 Guiding Changemakers from Burnout to Renewal withDevorah Brous
🍃 Regenerative Design for Life and Landscape with Keri Evjy
🍃 The Healing Power of Trees in Cities with Jackee Holder
🍃 Telling Your Own Nature Story from Your Soul with Devorah Spilman
🍃 Bringing Children Back Into Nature with Ellen Dee Davidson
🍃 Walking in Nature: The 20-Minute Miracle Cure with Alex Strauss
…and many more!
You really don’t want to miss this.
You can attend the Rise Up Rooted Global Wellness Symposium completely FREE. When you register, you’ll be notified each day when the various interviews are available.
PS – The amount of practical wisdom you will get access to for FREE during this event has the potential to dramatically change the rest of 2023 for you (not to mention the rest of your life!) I recommend you make the time. Click here to register.
PPS – Got a friend who could use a dose of Nature’s medicine? Please forward this invitation. All are welcome!
April was National Poetry Month in the States. I attempted to complete and share a poem a day for the month.
On the whole, I just missed a few days towards the end of the month. Things went a bit off the boil, when things got a bit busy. What with birthday celebrations and friends visiting, my attentions were distracted and my energy levels were depleted.
But hey 20+ new poems which didn’t exist before this month is always a win in my book. I feel when I do these challenges, what I produce is hit and miss. Because of the necessity of creating something everyday, the time needed to go deep into a subject or issue is lacking. Surface shenanigans are usually the case.
Speed is needed rather than depth. But now, as May rolls along there is time to revisit and redraft and build upon what is already there.
It’s time to slow down the poetry creation process and spend some quality time going deep. Do some more research, collect some more stories and facts as inspiration and see what happens from there. Let the poems sit and fester and start to speak for themselves.
My poetry writing muscles have been flexed and they’re primed to continue lifting heavier weights of meaning and impact now.
I’m looking forward to see which pieces develop, which ones will fall by the way side and which ones will become pure steel.
I’ve been leaning into my gratitude practice, but sometimes I’ve forgotten and let the simple task of listing one thing per day for which I am grateful for, slide.
What can I say, habits are made to be broken as well as upheld. And the bad habits always seem to be the ones we hold onto. While those habits that can actually benefit us and bring some joy, peace and happiness into our lives, we fuck up!
Gratitude is one of them. Gratitude helps people feel more positive about their lives. It fosters positive emotions as people reflect and savour and relish good experiences and events and relationships.
Gratitude improves people’s health and makes them more satisfied with what they have rather than focusing time and energy and regret on what they do not have.
It’s been proven that being more grateful makes you happier.
Well I could always do with being happier. Everyone could. And that is not to say that I’m not grateful for the life I have, the life I’m living and the people in it. But I could do with a reminder and become more consistent in my appreciation and gratitude.
Hence the next 28 days of gratitude. Holding myself to account in order to re-engage with this positive habit and hold on to happiness.
I want to wring out as much gratitude for each experience and happening and being in my life as I can. As life is a gift but sometimes I forget. So today we begin again.
It’s day one of my gratitude practice.
Today I am grateful for the lie in I managed to have before being woke up.
But I’m not complaining as I was woke up by Miss Ella for a cuddle. I’m grateful for my morning cuddle in bed with my daughter.
I’m grateful today for the hot black fresh brewed coffee that helped me wake up fully and engage with the day.
I’m grateful to have completed a big application and submitted it today and it helped to have company while completing this work.
I’m grateful for the time I got to be alone and focus on the tasks I had to complete today and not be distracted or interrupted.
I’m grateful today for the chocolate I managed to stuff into my face after said application was complete and I could rest
I’m grateful to be able to lie in bed now, warm and sleepy and write this gratitude list without having to think too hard about what or who I am grateful for today because I have ample choices to draw upon to share.