Wishing for Something Else…

flowers in field
Nadia Colburn // May 1, 2024 // 0 Comments

Spring is fully here in Cambridge, and it's a delight! 

It's been a busy last few months for me; I have a few more weeks of readings, free programming, and one-time classes, and then I'm going to be slowing down for the summer.

As I'm slowing down from my book tour, I'm diving into some of my own writing again.

Returning to my own creative work, I'm remembering the importance of staying grounded in my body, and of being connected to place, scene, particulars. When I do that, my writing solidifies. I see my way forward. The work becomes more alive on the page. And my nervous system relaxes, too 🙂

Today, I want to share two upcoming online writing classes with you. I'm hopeful they will give you the tools you need to ground and expand in your own writing 🙂

This Friday, I'll be co-teaching a completely FREE writing workshop with the wonderful fiction writer and teacher Traci Skuce.

Wishing for Something Else... 1

Call Your Writing Home: Writing Place. Join us online for this free 90-minute class. There will be meditations and writing prompts, conversation and Q&A, plus a little taste of how we both like to use the land around us to inform our writing.

We'll give you tools you can use to celebrate and honor the natural world and give voice to the places and stories that shape you. These tools will help you come into a more connected relationship with your writing, whatever genre you're working in.

Join us this Friday, May 3rd, at 2pm ET / 11am PT / 7pm England. Do come live if you can. A recording will also be sent to everyone who registers. 🙂

Next Tuesday, May 7th (from 7:00-9:30pm ET / 4:00-6:30pm PT) I'm offering one of my signature classes, Poetry as Sacred Attention with Writers.com. This is one of my favorite classes to teach, and I'd love to see you there!

Wishing for Something Else... 2

In this class, you'll expand and strengthen your understanding and appreciation for poetry, and get tools to write with more attention, precision, intuition, and connection.

The etymology of “sacred” comes from “consecrated, dedicated”; poetry asks us to slow down, to pay attention, and to notice the relationship between words, objects, feelings, people, and the natural world–this itself is a form of consecration and dedication.

We’ll carefully look at poems by such writers as Rainer Maria Rilke, Rumi, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mary Oliver, Joy Harjo, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and Camille Dungy.

Through close readings, we’ll discover new techniques to bring to our own poems. We’ll discuss craft, structure, word choice, and the music of a poem.

The class is designed for people of every (and also no particular) spiritual affiliation as we explore the ways in which a poem itself can be the site of a contemplative, reverential, and transformative experience.

There will be time to read, write, and share poetry, as well as time for discussion, and questions and answers.

You’ll leave the class with greater connection to your own unique powers as a poet, a revived love of and dedication to the practice of reading and writing poetry, and new tools to write more successful, alive, effective poetry.

I thought I'd close with a short poem, "Teach Me," from I Say the Sky that explores both place and sacred attention.

I wrote this poem many years ago after dropping off my son at his rock climbing practice and then shopping with my daughter at Old Navy in the mall. I was tired, and I wished I were spending time outside in the country instead of driving around the outskirts of Boston. The human landscape around me felt like a physical pain, and it triggered the ways my own body had been violated. I found myself wishing for something else.

But that very wish brought me back to the present, to the strange wonder of being alive at all.

The poem came to me almost whole, and I think that's because it comes from this sense of presence—even in the landscape of boxstores.

I hope you enjoy it.

Teach Me

how to pray anywhere.

Teach me that you live

not only in the open field,

the cardinals singing at first dawn,

but also in the concrete parking lot

of the Everett Mall, in the flashing lights of Old Navy,

in the wires crossing the open expanse

above me. 

The cars speed down the highway.

Their tires spin, spin.

There is so much

work to do. Dark oil

flows over the whole land. Teach me

how to praise your whole body.


(by Nadia Colburn from I Say the Sky; first published in On Being)

As always, reach out with any questions or comments! I love to hear from you.

with smiles,


PS: Sign up for my FREE Writing Workshop with Traci Skuce, Call Your Writing Home, here.

PPS: Sign up for my workshop, Poetry as Sacred Attention, with Writers.com here.

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