I am so grateful to Abby Braithwaite for collaborating with me on The Poetics of Place, a day-long experiential workshop for poets looking to connect with the earth. Abby has many exciting ideas in the works for how to use the beautiful Plas Newydd Farm as a site for other arts events and workshops. Learn more about the Plas Newydd Arts Initiative.
Here is the schedule for the day’s activities:
Poetics of Place
Mindful Exploration as Poetics Practice with Abby Braithwaite and Christopher Luna
March 25, 2023
Abby leads the group on a short walk during which she will share a short history of the farm.
EXERCISE: As we walk, find three objects and place them in your pocket or bag.
Find a comfortable place to sit. Look out (in front of you) for five minutes.
Then look down for five minutes.
Finally, look up for five minutes.
As you complete these three steps, notice what you notice.
When you have completed all three steps, begin to write.
Return to the house.
11:00-11:15: Free write.
12:00-12:45: Jack Collom’s “Things to Save” Exercise.
12:45-3:00pm: Sharing and discussing our poems.
Save These Things Forever
Save the smallest wild things, the overlooked
ordinary things—earthworms, baby birds, moss, deep soil.
Hold safe the green-brown smell of the woods
in spring and fall. Save all the sequoias.
Keep safe the salamanders in the tiny stream that leaks from
the hillside by my childhood home, save their eggs,
silent as pebbles.
Enfold with safety the magic lanterns of fireflies,
save the Aurora Borealis and how my feet sound
sweeping through dry leaves in autumn.
Keep forever the voices of those beloved to me—
save all the unspoken love that overflows the
bucket of my heart.
Save always the sharp awe that envelops me when
in the presence of the still and untamed beings that have been
my true saviors for all my days.
Jennifer Pratt-Walter 3/25/2023
By Gail Alexander
I hear the voices of the land today
Like a pencil sharpened in silence
Unveiled in the whispers of wind
and the golden veined lace of your composition
Across the forest floor.
“ Where will you be Nana when you die?”
Lichen and the green of moss cling to branches.
I stand looking down into the soft clear trickle of flow.
I raise my hands and call
back to ancestors on the shoreline“ hayu masi “.
“ There in the stream is where I’ll be Owen. Can you see the bones of the boughs?
That’s where I’ll be. Someday our bones will lay
Beside each other in the clear
Water where eagles
Fly above. Waiting_”
I’m awake now
In my bed of twigs red and leaves of cottonwood and ash.
On the hillside to the north, branches
Drape like curtains and have
Opened to the light.
I want to go.
Little birds are singing
And from a single
cell of lichen
Lies a forest.
2 thoughts on “Photos and Poems from The Poetics of Place at Plas Newydd Farm in Ridgefield, WA March 25, 2023”
Jennifer Pratt Walter, such lovely sentiments!!! This must have been an incredible day…wish I’d been there!! Hugs, toni
Hi Toni…it was quite an amazing experience. I hope I can catch up with you soon!