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2017-06/25 In the Palm of Your Heart: Gifts From the Activist Pen of Steve Kowit – Poem Making with Jim Moreno Part III

Date: Sunday June 25 2017 Time: 10am to 1pm Number of sessions: 1 -- One Day Class Members: $45 Nonmembers: $54 Location: San Diego Writers, Ink, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd., #202, San Diego, CA 92106

In April of this year, Part I of this three part series with City Heights Poet Jim Moreno delved into the elements of the memoir poem blended with social justice themes as prescribed by master teacher Steve Kowit in his mentoring book In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop, (Tilbury House, 1995). Participants received prompts from such prominent poets as Dorianne Laux & Wislawa Szymborska as well as Steve Kowit’s memoir verse.

In May, Part II explored elements of the prose poem resonating with memoir and activism. Participants experienced the magic of the ordinary becoming extraordinary by exercising the literary muscles of coherence, emotion, story, clarity, recollection, and revision. Writers in this workshop heard Moreno echo the literary stance of critic Kowit against the “difficult poem” as espoused by Steve in his Poetry International essay, The Mystique of the Difficult Poem. In that essay we poets were warned against “bilious, academic flapdoodle” which allows the writer’s ego to inflate to heights of arrogance, exclusivity, and self-aggrandizement, anathema to Kowit consciousness of lucidity and “genuine communicated perception.”

In June’s third installment of Kowit consciousness (and he probably would be uncomfortable with a reference to himself in that way) Moreno will attempt to echo the craft lessons of Chapter 4, Shards of Memory, & Chapter 22, The Body Politic, from In the Palm of Your Hand. In the latter, mentor Kowit writes: Since it is the job of writers to bear witness to the truth, and the habit of writers to read widely, think deeply, and seek their own counsel rather than adopt the propaganda of their leaders and the self-serving rationalizations of their fellow citizens, it should not be surprising that writers find themselves in mortal opposition to the state apparatus.

We might also add to this thinking that many of us writers today are in moral opposition to local, state and national consciousness which does not reflect our values but tries to legislate policies inimical to those values and wed to profits over people. A policy Steve would oppose, in his words, with “lapidary clarity”.

Jim Moreno will alert you to how this is not a critique workshop. Instead, Moreno will create a safe writing mileau for poets in this palm of your heart writing workshop. You will leave with 1- 3 poems that he will encourage you to submit for publishing because, again in Steve’s words, you wrote in community with brother and sister poets in love with “genuinely complex, textured, multilayered, exploratory, intuitive, and profoundly insightful poetry.” For the beginning or seasoned poet.

Jim Moreno serves on the Program Committee of Writers’ Ink, He is on the Advisory Board of the Poetic Medicine Institute and was the Poet in Residence for the Juvenile Court & Community Schools. Jim has taught as a guest poet at California State University, Long Beach, Southwestern College, Magee Park Poets, CalSAC Statewide Conference, the Buddhist Churches of America Annual Conference, St. Elmo’s Village (both in Los Angeles), the Crossroads Foundation (via grant from the Poetic Medicine Institute in Palo Alto), area high schools and Indian reservations. Moreno is the author of Dancing In Dissent: Poetry For Activism (Dolphin Calling Press, 2007), and two cd’s reversing the erased: exhuming the expunged, and A Question From Love. He has been published in City Works, The Langston Hughes Poetry Anthology, The Magee Park Poets Anthology, Tidepools, The San Diego Poetry Annual, and others. Jim is the host of the 2 Open Mic­Jihmye at the Cafe Cabaret on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights.  Jim won first place for nonfiction in the Living Authors’ Society inaugural contest in 1994.

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