Enjoy our amazing winter sunsets in Phoenix, along with this amazing retreat. “John Fox is the most sensitive and effective teacher of poetic medicine I know. He listens to both poem and person deeply, and he is a master as guiding others.” –Courney Davis, NP Redding, CT
Most of you know I am studying to become a poetry therapist. The work is deep and rich and wonderful. If you have ever wanted to get closer to poetry, to attend a poetry retreat, this is your opportunity.
The retreat is being held on February 24 to 26 (Friday evening through Sunday at noon) in central Phoenix, Arizona. It’s being presented by John Fox, the head of the Institute for Poetic Medicine.
Retreat Title: The Seven Gifts of Poetry: Poetry as a Pathway to Renewal
When: February 24-26 (Friday evening through Sunday noon.)
Where: Villa Del Coronado, Phoenix (Mid-Town), walking distance from the Phoenix Art Museum light rail stop
Price: $130, does not include hotel or meals.
For more information or to make your reservation, contact me via the comments or the contact page on this website.
The intention is to serve as encouragement and catalyst for poem making in your personal journey. The retreat will include gentle, evocative and poignant writing prompts, writing and sharing of your own writing. No prior experience is necessary.
I’ve attended John’s retreats and they are a wonderful break from the frantic world of to-do lists and endless work. You’ll work deeply and leave refreshed. You’ll spend a few days with new friends, no one is a stranger for long in John’s retreats.
Give the retreat as a gift of renewal for the holidays!
We all meet dips in our lives. We don’t always get warnings.
It’s been a tough year, no matter what side you are on. There were surprises enough for the whole world. If you feel in need of healing medicine, I’m offering a healing through writing class. It’s online, on a private group on Facebook.
The details are here, on my professional writing blog. The basics? It’s four classes, one every two weeks, starting on November 19. There are two warm-up lessons already on the Facebook group, so you won’t be bored till it starts. The class is non-partisan, no political talk allowed. It’s about healing whatever needs to be healed in you.
Price? Pay what you want. There is a link to a PayPal donation page. You can pay nothing, you can pay a bit to help you feel accountable, you can pay a lot. All of the money goes to two charities.
If you have questions, you can always contact me through comments or by the Contact page on either blog site.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches writing. She is studying poetic medicine and will become a writing therapist.
Notan is a Japanese paper art that plays with light and dark. “Notan” means “light-dark harmony” in Japanese. There are guidelines, of course, and as I usually do, I stuck with them for the first go-around. After this, I may bend the strict rules a bit.
I used a square about 5 inches (13 c.) on a side. I used black art paper because construction paper is too soft and tears too easily. Canson makes a good black paper. So does Arches.
Notan 1. © Quinn McDonald, 2016. All rights reserved.
The idea of playing with balance, with light and dark, is intriguing. We all have a dark side, which means we all have a light side, as well. Art imitates life, again.
Here is a video for complex shapes.
Here’s another one with more explanation of symmetry and positive and negative space.
I started simple, because I have some spatial relationship problems. And I like understanding where I’m going.
- Keep the cut-out portions limited to the side of the paper you are working on. Don’t go beyond the middle of the square.
- Don’t cut off the corners of the square. Because this art requires dark and light to mirror each other, your eye needs to “see” the line completed.
- You can use scissors, but a craft knife will be easier once you get better.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer, a poetic medicine practitioner, and a creativity coach.
I’m giving away (and reviewing) Jane Dunnewold’s book on my other site. There are a lot of readers on this site who will want to read the book, too.
Here’s the beginning of the review. At the end, there is a link to the other blog site, so you can leave a comment there for the giveaway. Please do not leave a comment here–the winner will be chosen from the other site.
“There are a lot of books on creativity that combine art-making exercises with encouragement. All the more reason to love a new book that is wonderful, tempting, helpful and encouraging. When it turns out to do what it promises–help you become creatively stronger, more sure or your creativity, and more curious about the world around you–it’s a keeper. One you will want to read quickly, just to enjoy, then read more slowly to work through and use regularly.
Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius by Jane Dunnewold is just that book. You will find yourself nodding your head in recognition. ” Continue reading the review here.
Milkweed pod, Montana. © Quinn McDonald, 2016. All rights reserved.
When my parents arrived in this country, they had been allowed to bring three crates of items. Those crates contained their entire life–for two adults and two children. Bedding, clothing, pots and pans, dishes, important papers, books, photos, toys. Three crates. Although I was born later, the impossibility of the decisions of what to pack stuck with me.
As a child, I played a game– what I would pack if I had to leave quickly and go to a new place? This poem is rooted in that memory.
Seed Pod: Notes for Survival
I left dawn behind, but took the last star in the sky
I left the sun behind, but took the ragged fringe of shade
I left the fragrant, blooming tree,
but stole the hanging seed and packed it.
The smooth seedpod holds the wisdom
of casting shade and woven nests,
Going back ten thousand years
Folded in its traveler’s shell.
Still willing, when it hits the ground
To send out an exploratory root,
To test the ground for possible survival.
It has one chance to birth a branch
Fed by a dream of stars held in its crown
A filigree of shade laid on the ground
And then, to birth another seed to pack.
© Quinn McDonald, 2016. All rights reserved. No use without express written permission.
Inside my house,
Inside my mind
the lights are on.
The books shift, wanting to be read.
Night lightning in Phoenix. © Quinn McDonald, 2016. All rights reserved.
My to-do list stretches, reaching for another ream of paper.
My phone buzzes, chirps, and rattles with impatience.
My cat sinks his claws into my thigh, hungry for attention.
Dear God, it’s like being nibbled to death by ducks.
All this quiet, so I can work.
I push the heavy slider wide,
and step onto the night balcony.
The light rail leaves a station, clanging on its way.
Cars honk, people laughing, cursing, singing, 14 floors below.
Lights shimmer, blink and fuss, directing traffic,
calling for attention.
On the night balcony
all that noise is someone else’s
And I can fade into the stillness,
and be gone.
—Quinn McDonald is a practitioner of poetic healing.
My artwork is becoming more and more about poetry. I’ve always loved words in art, probably the best reason I love making collage.
For a project in my poetic medicine certification, I am exploring the idea of silence, and how we use it to communicate, to heal, to express our deepest pain. I created a dozen alcohol-ink abstract landscapes, and printed phrases of my classmates poetry onto the landscapes. The snippets combine to form a poem of their own, about the power of silence.Samples are below, but not in order.
Next week, when we gather, I’m going to ask each person to read their poetry snippet, in an order I chose to create a new poem, with a dozen contributors. I’m hoping they’ll not only cooperate, but be pleased with the visual combining with the spoken word.
This landscape is an image from my trip to Second Mesa, on the Hopi reservation, where the night sky is filled with stars.
I’m enjoying the break in serious study for this project. I hope it goes over well.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer, a writing trainer, and studying to become a poetic medicine practitioner.