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Alice Templeton: Embodied Writing – Giving Shape to Personal and Collective Pain

5 Saturdays, May 6 – June 10 (skip May 27), 2-4:30pm  Berkeley
$275 members/$295 non-members

*This class is a continuation of “Embodied Writing – Giving Shape to Darkness,” offered as a 3-week class in Nov/Dec 2016, but you do not need to have taken the earlier class to enroll.

As writers, most of us expect to draw subject matter from our most troubling personal experiences. And daily news of shootings, terrorism, and natural disasters—along with conflict around the 2016 election—also call us to respond to discord within the civic realm. With so many difficult stories circulating in and around us, the task of writing about them might seem straightforward, yet doubts abound: Where are the words? Hasn’t everything already been said? How do I make my pain and anxiety artistically meaningful?

This class offers tools to help you write about personal pain and collective anxiety with clarity and complexity. “Our task as writers, as citizens, is to resist abstraction by imaginatively embodying our subject in concrete terms,” says instructor Alice Templeton. “This means reconnecting the imagination with the body. When we do this work, the paralysis of pain and anxiety can give way to the energy of transformation.”

The class provides writing exercises, along with literary examples, to help writers get past obstacles and practice concrete ways of expressing personal and collective pain. We will look at excerpts by Audre Lorde, Paul Celan, Claudia Rankine, and others. Writers of all genres are welcome.

Alice Templeton’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Calyx, Asheville Poetry Review, and elsewhere, and her chapbook Archaeology won the 2008 New Women’s Voices Prize in Poetry from Finishing Line Press. Alice has been a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Moulin a Nef (France), Blue Mountain Center, Vermont Studio Center, and the Millay Colony. She teaches creative writing and humanities at the Art Institute of California-San Francisco.


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