“Enough with the…Talking Points” Chapter One: Who (You Think) You Are – The Culture Thing

In this interview, Reggie and Kent explore the role of “cultural givens” in how we engage in conversation.

“Enough with the…Talking Points: Doing More Good than Harm in Conversation” Chapter 1 – Kent Frazier interviews Reggie Marra.

Click on the book for a direct link to Amazon.
Front Cover

Grave & Goofy Poems: Narrative Healing in Uncertain Times – Episode 5

Welcome back!

In this 20-minute episode we’ll explore metaphor and simile – using comparison to explore one thing in terms of another. Toward that end, we’ll take a look at poems by Billy Collins and Jack Gilbert.

Grave & Goofy Poems – Narrative Healing in Uncertain Times – Episode 5: Comparision 4.22.20 from Reggie Marra on Vimeo.

Grave & Goofy Poems: Narrative Healing in Uncertain Times – Episode 3

Welcome back!

In this 13+-minute video, we’ll work with responding to or talking back to a poem – using someone else’s poem as a starting point, we’ll begin writing based on some aspect of the poem that resonates with us. In this episode we’ll use poems by Roque Dalton, translated by Jack Hirschman, Naomi Shihab Nye, and yours truly.

If you’d like a brief overview of what we’re doing here, please check out Episode 1, March 25, 2020.

Enjoy!

Grave & Goofy Poems: Narrative Healing in Uncertain Times Episode 3 – Responding to What Resonates 4.8.20 from Reggie Marra on Vimeo.

Grave & Goofy Poems: Narrative Healing in Uncertain Times – Episode 2

Welcome back!

In this 12-minute video, we’ll work with imagery – using sensory, concrete language that appeals to the senses.

If you’d like a brief overview of what we’re doing here, please check out Episode 1, March 25, 2020.

Enjoy!

Grave and Goofy Poems: Narrative Healing in Uncertain Times – Episode 2 / Imagery 4.1.20 from Reggie Marra on Vimeo.

Grave & Goofy Poems – Narrative Healing in Uncertain Times

This is the first in a series of brief writing prompts designed to help you get your feelings and thoughts onto the page.

No previous writing experience required.

Continue reading below the video for more information.

Grave and Goofy Poems: Narrative Healing in Uncertain Times – Episode 1 from Reggie Marra on Vimeo.

  • Appropriate (fun and easy) for parents who are home now with their kids.
  • Each episode will present one way to begin writing – a writing “prompt” and anyone who actually does the prompt, i.e. writes for a couple of minutes (as opposed to just listening to it and not writing) will leave the session with at least one poem beginning, which you can then work and play with.
  • Prompts can be easily adapted for younger children, young adults, adults, seniors (anyone – really).
  • Some episodes will include, in addition to the prompt, a brief overview of / introduction to a poetic / literary device / tool – like image, metaphor, simile, voice, conflict, theme, line, diction, punctuation, texture, completion…
  • This is intended as an introduction especially for:
    • anyone who has never written a poem before, or who thinks he or she cannot
    • folks who have not written poetry or prose as a way to understand themselves and their world before
    • parents who are at home with their kids
    • teachers who have little or no experience teaching poetry writing
    • anyone else who’s willing to explore the power of poetry / the written word to heal
  • Each episode will provide a resource or two for further exploration.

Fillet of Soul With a Dark Night Glaze

This video, from Wainwright House in Rye, NY, is a recent presentation of the poem, preceded by about 4 minutes of the story behind the poem.

If you’d like to read the poem on the page, the best way (for both of us) is for you to purchase a copy of And Now, Still: Grave and Goofy Poemswhich is available on Amazon, and also available here, at a 30% discount if you use this code when you check out: ADXSKKVR.

Buy the book and you’ll get 44 additional poems and help feed me. Great deal!

Enjoy!

 

If, of course, you’d like to read the poem without supporting the arts by buying a book that helps feed a poet, you can click on the right sidebar photo of me dressed in black and talking with my hands. A PDF will appear. And I’ll still need to be fed.

Narrative ‘Tradecraft’ #2 – Image(ry)

This post originally appeared at http://www.teleosis.org.

While it may be true that an image or picture can be worth a thousand words, in our less quantitative approach to narrative healing, an image is that which the words bring to mind – the picture that the words conjure for a reader or listener – which we’ll say more about below.

Woman DanceImagery – the presence and function of images in a narrative is at the heart of the “show, don’t tell” directive for writers and it beckons us to write “Heart pounding, palms sweating, I slowly turned the doorknob…” as opposed to “I was really, really scared.” Imagery in writing allows us to feel in our bodies what we might otherwise only be able to understand with our minds. It takes our abstract notions of fear, joy, love, anger, confusion, rage, empathy, bliss, anxiety, doubt, contentment, certainty – any and all of the emotions or states of mind with which we may be familiar, and translates them into concrete, sensory language.

While the abstraction gets us into the vicinity of what we’re trying to express, the image drops us into its essence – we can see, feel, taste, touch or smell what the idea itself suggests. Anger becomes a clenched fist; love appears as the young woman cradling her newborn. And just to be clear, in this particular context, we are not even considering the prospect of the image as metaphor – used to represent one thing as or through another (stay tuned for metaphor in future narrative tradecraft writings). Continue reading

Narrative Tradecraft #1 – Perspective

This post originally appeared at http://www.teleosis.org.

Perspective, or point of view – which I’ll use synonymously here, colors how we experience everything, and in many ways is the foundational element with which we work in our Living Poems, Writing Lives course. We engage various “tools” as both literary devices and as strategies for living our healing narratives in an intentional way. These devices include, and are not limited to, point of view/perspective, imagery, metaphor, diction, ‘music’, drama/conflict, theme, texture, revision and completion.

P1030093The point of view through which any one of us experiences and assesses his or her life emerges through a variety of factors that includes development within specific intelligences or developmental lines (e.g. cognitive, moral, spiritual, kinesthetic, emotional), personality, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, childhood (and adult) experiences, religious affiliation or lack thereof, health – in the broadest meaning of the word, and political affiliation – just to name a few, and also what we might call the center of gravity or general worldview that is the cumulative effect of these factors.  Trusting, for the sake of argument, that there are objective events in the world – the tree falls, the car starts, he drops the glass, the heart skips a beat, the train is late, the flower blooms – it is our point of view, the perspective through which we experience the event, that determines what meaning we give it and how we respond.

Continue reading

Declaration of Interdependence – July 4, 2015 – Signatories Wanted

When in the course of Universal events, it becomes necessary for One People to transcend, while still honoring, the healthiest aspects of the political, ethnic, religious, gender, cultural, racial, sexual orientation, national, age, health, height, weight and any and all other differences that seem to separate them in the manifest realm, and to assume among the powers of the Universe, the unified and equal origins of all that is, an integrated respect for all sentient beings requires that We declare the causes that impel Us to the recognition of Our Inherent Oneness.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all beings emerge from the same Mysterious Origin, that they are inherently One with that Origin (since they could not have come from anywhere else, at least that We know of so far), and that the humans (and others) among these beings are, again inherently, blessed with a yearning for and an ability to thrive within the apparently paradoxical juxtapositions among connection, autonomy, mercy, interdependence, grace, responsibility, safety, risk, purpose, justice, change, stability, kindness, gravity, effort, rest, story, compassion, achievement, and Love. Oh, and by the way, the greatest of these is Love, and essentially no different from the Mysterious Origin.

We further hold that today We honor our ancestors’ and Our own historical sacrifices and movements through individual, tribal, national and international attempts to provide and guarantee these blessings, and We recognize the dignities and disasters perpetrated by each of these movements, and We further commit to remembering the first two paragraphs above, and more importantly, to using any means that does no harm to ensure that such recognition manifests moment-to-moment in Our behavior.

At every stage and in every nature of Our perceived separateness and difference, the best and wisest among Us have petitioned Us to see what We could not yet see, and to do what We were unable to do at the moment of their petitioning, and We now offer a deep bow of gratitude for the ability to step back and take perspectives unavailable to many long ago, and to see the painfully slow, albeit inevitable, progress that these best and brightest in every generation pointed to and petitioned Us to see and act upon.

We further recognize and embrace the bittersweet reality that whatever Good We now bring to this manifest world, at this time, in Our best years and worst moments, is no final arrival – no destination point, but simply another step in Our return to remembering Our Inherent Oneness, a step, which if those who come after Us are paying attention, they will not have to take themselves.

We, therefore, the Representatives of Mysterious Origin, the seemingly separate manifestations of Inherent Oneness, joyfully publish and declare that We are free and interdependent; grateful to and absolved from any and all allegiance to any unhealthy and unreal separations imposed upon us by occasionally well-intentioned, and often useful and necessary individuals and organizations that served an appropriate purpose during their specific historical emergence, and whose time or usefulness has now passed, whether they can see this themselves or not.

We further commit ourselves to act with the highest compassion towards those of Us whose conditioning or fear prevent a full embrace of Our Common Origin in this moment, and in so doing, remember Our own fear, and respond with and in Love, as We would want to be responded to Ourselves.

In support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on Our Common (and still Mysterious) Origin, We collectively pledge to Ourselves, each other and All That Is, to engage the work, play and practice required to live this Precious Human Life in Love in this and every moment.