Rewilding the Psyche through Poetry: A Five-Part Online Writing Course

With Mary Reynolds Thompson

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Check out Mary Reynolds Thompson’s free recorded programs and her articles: Entering the Forests of Our Imagination and Lessons from the Desert in Times of Crisis.

The poet Wallace Stevens proposed an “environmentalism of the imagination”–a call for us to actively carve out an untamed space within our own psyches. Much of the written word, however, is designed to domesticate and demystify, taking us away from wildness. But poetry, with its deep taproots, has the opposite effect.

What is it like to write from some untamed part of the self? To stalk an image as you would a feral creature? To feel the instinctual move through you and onto the page?

During this experiential course, we’ll explore the works of nature poets like Joy Harjo, Gary Snyder, Mary Oliver, and others. Then, taking up our own pens as walking sticks, we’ll see how writing poetry can help us embody an ecological awareness that results in surprising insights into our interconnectedness with nature.

Though held on Zoom, there will be the ability to take some of the writing prompts out of doors. As well, Mary will provide writing assignments between sessions that can be done in nature.

Session 1: Stalking the Image
We practice skills that can bring us closer to the image, so that we can encounter it with full-bodied presence before we bring it to life on the page.

Session 2: Embodying the Wild
We explore how writing poetry allows us to inhabit more-than-human perspectives.

Session 3: Letting Go of Control
We learn to tap into the creative power of nature to unleash our own creativity.

Session 4: Moving Beyond the Fences
We refuse to be penned in (pun intentional). What’s it like to move into wilder, untrammeled territory. To risk? To roam? To write outside the lines.

Session 5: Beginning with the Soft Animal of Your Body
We come home to poetry through engaging our feral, feeling, full-bodied self.

Mary Reynolds Thompson

Mary Reynolds Thompson

Mary Reynolds Thompson is the author of Embrace Your Inner Wild and Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness. She is also an instructor for the non-profit TreeSisters, a facilitator of poetry therapy and journal therapy, and a certified life coach who has helped thousands of people discover and live their Wild Soul Story. She is the founder of Write The Damn Book, a program that guides writers on the heroic journey from procrastination to publication, and is a core faculty member of the Therapeutic Writing Institute in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.