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WORKSHOP: Giving sorrow words: Poetry as a gateway to grief literacy

Elham Day


Author and psychotherapist Francis Weller cites a line from Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke: ‘I don't have much knowledge yet in grief, so this massive darkness makes me small.’ In this experiential workshop, participants will be invited to explore the rich history of grief poetry as way to peer into the darkness of which Rilke speaks. Sorrow filled verses have been penned across the centuries by writers and mystics, petitioning all who would listen to turn towards the shadowy and unfamiliar experience of grief. There is much the poet’s pen can offer to those working in, caring for, or receiving palliative care, and we petition you to lean into the learning. Through simple guided reading and writing practices in an outdoor setting, workshop participants will explore how a relationship to grief and death can be expanded beyond the personal into the communal, outwards even to the more than human world. It is the poets who remind us: the deeper sorrow carves into our being, the more joy we can contain (Gibran) – and that these two, joy and sorrow are interwoven as golden twine (Blake). Come and caress these shining threads of old and how we may more mindfully carry them with us in the everyday. No prior writing experience is necessary, and may prove to be of some benefit. Please bring a notebook and pen.

Later Event: October 15

The Dawn Chorus: Sing in your day in harmony with delegates (Misty's Room)