East on Dundas Street
a blur of red lights
streetcars, the sound of metal
December night sky
I remember how I avoided my birth story, how big and tiresome it seemed. I felt haunted by it as it followed me around expecting something from me. I think it wanted me to listen and as I did it slowly came back to me in small pieces, many of which ended up sounding like Haiku. The small poems were the doorway into my birth story and allowed for some more understanding and healing.
In Birth Story Poems, you’ll start to crack open your story, one poem at a time. By recalling small moments from your birthing day, you’ll transform these lines into short poems. Even if you’ve never written a poem in your life, you’ll be surprised at how simple this process is — in fact, the poems tend to write themselves.
Each telling of the birth story is a kind of peace-making with this huge, transformative experience.
The workshop is designed to open up the birth story gradually, in a way that feels gentle and manageable, peeling away the outer layers to see what’s inside. We look at who the birth story is for and what gets edited, depending on who the listener is. We consider our history and family myths, with the goal of unearthing unspoken thoughts and memories that might seem irrelevant or unimportant.
We will be writing about things that seem incongruous with the magnitude of birth, like the memory of sipping water from a styrofoam cup or noticing the colour of watermelon underneath you after your water breaks.
Each telling of the birth story lightens the load and each poem shines a new light on what you might have thought was an impossible story to tell. Best of all, the birth story poems you write are for your heart.
We finish the session by moving your poems into a handmade book that you can carry away in your pocket.
You will need your hands free now and then to write and work with your chapbook.
All supplies are provided for in-person and online sessions.
This workshop can be arranged for your own group in a venue of your choice, or at a venue that I arrange.