Unfolding a Poem - Writing - featured image - 1300x500

Explore the Act of Creation Through Creating in Vivid Language

WHO: Christina Hutchins

WHAT: Four Online Sessions

WHEN:Follow your own schedule

WHERE: Online via Zoom

This is the second in series of three four-week courses taught by Christina Hutchins. Writing a poem, for the first or thousandth time, is an adventure into new constellations of feelings, thoughts, and experience, and writing a poem also opens fresh insights into the creative process itself. With gentle guidance and process insights, participants in this class, will do both.

Attend the live class sessions
or work at your own pace.

Course Description

The poet Adrienne Rich speaks directly to the days of her life. (In a poem, you can do that!) She says to the days, “I want more from you than I ever knew to ask.” To write a poem is one way of tapping our days for the “more” than we knew to ask, delving into the actuality of being human. To write a poem can be a satisfying spiritual engagement, a way of following sacred yearning and coalesce felt experience of the world and self in new ways. To write a poem is to enter language both raw and crafted, bringing together sounds and images. To write a poem is also to discover, in an intuitive way, the dynamics of a creative process. That is, to experience from within, how the universe or an ocean, a leaf, an atom, a human life becomes what it is. In this class, gentle prompts and process insights will guide participants into playing with language as a medium where the desires and constraints, praises and griefs of living converge.

The class is open to all. Often a creative urge waits in us that we attended to as young people then abandoned in adulthood. Or we may be drawn to try forms of creativity we never have. Perhaps you have written hundreds or poems or can’t remember ever having written a poem. The class is for experienced poets seeking insight into creative process and for process thinkers who are brand new to making poems, and everyone between.

“Art is an issue of Adventure.”
–Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas, 295

Each hour and a half meeting will include brief teaching about a process perspective and an aspect or technique of poetry, using an example poem, and a brief quiet period to write “together,” the poem-making enticed by means of a related prompt, a chance to surprise yourself. There will be a time for always optional sharing at the end. Have pen and paper ready. Writing by hand is recommended, because the physicality and imperfection (!) of making marks on a page can aid imagination. But use any way you find helpful. The course can be taken as an independent four-week class or as part of the three-course series on Unfolding Poetry and Process Thought.

“Something is alive in me: what can it be?”
–Vincent Van Gogh

Like Vincent Van Gogh, perhaps something feels alive in you. What can it become? We are life-involved in personal relations, the natural world, inner thoughts, as well as in the religious, political, and cultural landscapes of our lives. The creative process offers us ourselves anew.

“A cat drinks from a bowl of marigolds—his moment.
Surely the love of life is never-ending,
the failure of nerve, a charred fuse?
I want more from you than I ever knew to ask.”
–Adrienne Rich, “To the Days”

Course Outline

  • Session 1: Entering Creative Process and Unfolding the Neverbefore
  • Session 2: Unfolding Language: Pleasure in Sound
  • Session 3: Unfolding Relations: Image and Metaphor
  • Session 4: Enjoyment of Existence: The Ode

About the Instructor

Christina Hutchins - color - 1181x1291

Christina Hutchins is a poet and scholar of process philosophy and theology. She has also worked as a biochemist, a Congregational (UCC) minister, and for many years taught theology and literary arts at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. She lives in Albany, California, where she served as the city’s first poet laureate.

Her poetry collections are Tender the Maker (2015 May Swenson Award, Utah State UP), The Stranger Dissolves (2011), finalist for the Lambda and Audre Lorde Awards, and the chapbooks, Radiantly We Inhabit the Air  (2011 Becker Prize), and Collecting Light (1999). Her poems appear widely, including in The Antioch Review, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, Salmagundi, The Southern Review, and Women’s Review of Books. Her essays on process theology, queer theory, and poetry appear in volumes by Ashgate, SUNY, and Columbia UP. Awards include The Missouri Review Prize, National Poetry Review Prize, a fellowship to St. Petersburg , Russia, and living in Robert Frost’s home in Franconia, NH, as the Dartmouth Poet in Residence.

Christina holds a BS from University of California at Davis in Biochemistry and Piano Performance, an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, where she delivered the graduation address, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Graduate Theological Union, writing a dissertation on reading and radiant time that draws on Alfred North Whitehead, Judith Butler, and Henri Bergson.

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Suggested Price

  • Lifetime access to session recordings
  • Receive early notification of future courses
  • Watch live or follow your own schedule
  • Interact with class members via discussion forums
  • * Contribute whatever you feel the course is worth or whatever you can afford to help support this and other programs like it. No one is turned down for lack of funds.

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