The Blessing of the Ordinary
In this six-week series, James and Danusha talk about writing as both ritual and mindfulness practice, bringing us all back to the source. We use poetry as an entry point into gratitude and hope, and as a cornerstone of resilience during these difficult and trying times. Whether you are a writer or not, you’re sure to come away from these heartening talks with a greater willingness to make space for joy and connection.
Each of the six 2-hour session begins with a talk with that week’s featured poet, followed by a discussion with Danusha and James, who read poems, offer gateways into accessing your own creative treasure troves, and share accompanying prompts. They answer questions from participants, and give further insights into the practice of poetry.
Each session includes a document with the poems and prompts shared and discussed.
Session 1 • Carolyn Forché
Carolyn Forché is an American poet, translator, and memoirist. Her books of poetry are Blue Hour, The Angel of History, The Country Between Us, and Gathering the Tribes. Her memoir, What You Have Heard Is True, was published by Penguin Press in 2019. In 2013, Forché received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship given for distinguished poetic achievement. In 2017, she became one of the first two poets to receive the Windham-Campbell Prize. She is a University Professor at Georgetown University. She lives in Maryland with her husband, photographer Harry Mattison.
Session 2 • Michael Kleber-Diggs
Michael Kleber-Diggs is the author of Worldly Things, which was awarded the 2020 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. He was born and raised in Kansas and now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. His work has appeared in Lit Hub, the Rumpus, Rain Taxi, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Water~Stone Review, Midway Review, North Dakota Quarterly and a few anthologies. Michael teaches poetry and creative non-fiction through the Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop.
Session 3 • Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and the national bestseller Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She has been widely published, appearing in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Best American Poetry, and more.
Session 4 • Angela Narciso Torres
Angela Narciso Torres is the author of Blood Orange, winner of the Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry. Her recent collections include To the Bone, from Sundress Publications (2020) and What Happens Is Neither (Four Way Books, 2021). Her work has appeared in Poetry, Missouri Review, Quarterly West, Cortland Review, and PANK. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she serves as a senior and reviews editor for RHINO Poetry.
Session 5 • Kim Stafford
Kim Stafford directs the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, and is the author of a dozen books, including The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft (U. Georgia Press, 2003), and Singer Come from Afar (Red Hen Press, 2021). He has taught writing in Scotland, Mexico, Italy, and Bhutan. He served as Oregon Poet Laureate 2018-2020. He teaches and travels to raise the human spirit.
Session 6 • Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Laure-Anne Bosselaar is the author of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, Small Gods of Grief, which won the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry ,and A New Hunger selected as a Notable Book by the American Library Association. With her husband, the poet Kurt Brown, she translated a book by the Flemish poet, Herman de Coninck: The Plural of Happiness. Bosselaar has taught at Emerson College, Sarah Lawrence College, and UCSB, and is a member of the Founding Faculty at the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing. Her latest collection, These Many Rooms, came out from Four Way Books. She recently served as Santa Barbara Poet Laureate.
Danusha Laméris’ first book, The Moons of August (2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. Some of her work has been published in: The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, Orion, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. Her second book, Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series), was a finalist for the 2021 Paterson Poetry Award and recipient of the Northern California Book Award in Poetry. She was the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California, and is currently on the faculty of Pacific University’s low residency MFA program. www.danushalameris.com
James Crews is editor of the bestselling anthology, How to Love the World, featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as in The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. He is the author of four prize-winning collections of poetry: The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment, and his poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, and The Sun. Crews teaches in the Poetry of Resilience seminars, and lives with his husband in Shaftsbury, Vermont. To sign up for weekly poems and prompts, visit: www.jamescrews.net.
The Blessing of the Ordinary
$200Purchase Lifetime Access
The purchase of this series will provide you with online access to six 2-hour sessions (12 hours total) that were pre-recorded during a live, virtual series held on Zoom in September - October 2021. Each session can be viewed in video format or downloaded as an audio file (videos are not available to be downloaded). You will be provided with a login to access the recordings through the Poetry of Resilience website. Your purchase will provide you unlimited, lifetime access to this series. Purchases are non-refundable.