Poetry Immersion in Geneva

What a delight it was to be back in Geneva this past weekend and plunge into the refreshing, healing power of poetry!

Lac Leman on a typical November day...
Lac Leman on a typical November day…

I attended a poetry workshop and masterclass organised by the Geneva Writers’ Group, with guest instructor Laura Kasischke. I’d read and admired Laura’s poetry and novels and was very keen to hear her in person. The workshop was everything I had hoped for and more and you can see some of my initial impressions of it on the GWG blog.

Prose can not quite do it justice, so instead I will attempt a confetti of poetic impressions, like petals gathered from the quotations, ideas and timed writing exercises we listened to over the course of these two days.

Laura Kasischke at Payot Rive.
Laura Kasischke at Payot Rive.

You can’t create compassion with compassion, or emotion with emotion
where is the body, where are your senses?
I have no way to express this in words
so I just sit down with a pen and try to find the words
it’s the very essence of being
but it has to use the language of shared experience

The recipe for writing a poem?
It’s simple.
Nothing to do with subject matter.
It comes from somewhere else, as if your mind
and pen is seized by someone
the poem was coming to him
although he had yet to hear the words
he knew it was already written

wp_20161120_12_55_16_proSharp edges she slices to
control the slopes
feel the reassuring bite
and crunch of bones and dreams beneath her

poetic and creative insights come not haphazardly
but only in those areas in which we are intensively
committed
on which we concentrate our waking, conscious experience

wp_20161120_16_55_21_proa writer who means to outlive the useful rages
and despairs of youth
must somehow learn to endure
the desert of writer’s block

Nothing was in the mind that was not first in the senses.
When our mind is actively thinking about one thing,
we can be writing about something far more interesting
unawares
I throw a lot of stuff away
better start from scratch then spend too many years
on a mediocre poem

wp_20161122_12_51_49_proThere’s plenty more where that came from

The time-maker, the eye-maker, the voice-maker, the maker
of stars, of space, of comic surprises
bent together
over the future

I’d rather be a restaurant that is not to everyone’s liking
than the lowest common denominator
of McDonald’s.

wp_20161121_15_21_29_pro

18 thoughts on “Poetry Immersion in Geneva”

  1. I love that restaurant metaphor, Marina Sofia! It really sounds as though you had a wonderful experience, and I’m very happy for you. Your descriptions of poetry are insightful, too. I like the way you convey its essence so well.

    1. I was actually in a rather miserable state when I left for Geneva on Friday, with everything that could go wrong actually going wrong, but this marvellous weekend of seeing old friends, familiar places and meeting Laura and getting inspired by poetry – it really made all the difference!

  2. So happy to hear you had a wonderful weekend! It looks like a delightful getaway. Also, you’re a terrific writer. I am in love with these lines:

    The time-maker, the eye-maker, the voice-maker, the maker
    of stars, of space, of comic surprises
    bent together
    over the future

    ‘The maker of stars’ *swoon*

  3. You are so fortunate you’ve managed to attend a workshop on your busy schedule. I like your photos: Geneva in autumn has a particular low-key charm that’s particularly conducive to writers’and poets’ inspiration🙂

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