Topeka Somatic-Trance Poetry Project #3
for Melissa Studdard
Prepare for this project by reading through it until you are ready to move through it without worry of its "directions."
We have someone we care about--real or imagined, living or deceased--who is a heart-guide for us. Even if this person rarely spoke, or you never met her or him, or whatever reason or non-reason, this person is important. This project attempts to uncover and [re]cover your connection via a poem. This poem is also a gift for you and her or him.
This project relies on our abilities to find a center throughout whatever chaos, loss, the past, etc. Poetry brings our attention to the present moment, transcending time and space, so using the body while writing is important.
First, do simple breathing exercises. Rest with deep breath, and center your spine as perpendicularly with the earth as possible. Close your eyes if you need to.
Take out "scrap paper" to circle on. You might need ten sheets. Maybe fifteen. Write the name of your heart-guide at the top of each paper. Choose either way to circle, whatever way feels comfortable, beginning at the center and moving outward on the paper.
While doing this, close your eyes and think about the person, the essence of your center, the essence of your emotion. Do your best to continue with breathing, with spine-alignment, with circles.
Continue doing this exercise until you are ready with an image. This meaningful image will be the concentration of your poem.
Begin writing in the middle, circling outward in the same way you drew the circles. Your circles of meaning, memory, emotion will become words now. Stay with words for that image, using repetition, reflection, modes of looking to fill the page with words around (bad pun!) that image. Allow whatever other images that come in while on the page to connect with that image.
Do not worry about the placement of words. Stay in the trance of your movement.
When the page is full and you have another image, start with it on the next page. Start anew or continue--whichever you feel is "right." If nothing comes but you want to continue, try drawing circles again.
Send this poem to your heart-guide, physically, mentally, or by any other means.
You might have several heart-guides. Select another one tomorrow.
Note: I love Melissa's work for its mix of mystical imagery, as well as her heart-approach to the world. Here is an interview with her:
"Art is about discovery and sharing. Inside each of us, crashing against the shore of ego, are waves of truth trying to push their way onto land."
I wanted to take my reflections on her and her approach to poetry, as well as traditional approaches to meditation and the body-mind-heart, to create this project. I hope I accomplished this.
My own writing: [coming soon]