Course Catalog

Writing About Wounding Experiences

Rumi says, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” As writers we often draw inspiration from wounding experiences that have impacted our lives. The goal of this workshop is to use the light of our suffering to create work that is emotionally balanced, distinctive in language, and capable of illuminating an experience so the reader empathetically bears witness. Through a series of embodiment activities and generative writing exercises, you will more fully empower your voice and evolve your writing.

Beginning Fall 2021, we will be adding select in-person classes back to our course catalog. The majority of our classes will still be offered via Zoom.

If a class says IN-PERSON in its title, it will take place in person at our permanent home in Seattle.

If a class says ASYNCHRONOUS in its title, it will take place on Wet Ink, our asynchronous learning platform.

If a class does not have a marker after its title, it will take place via Zoom.

Instructor: Arisa White

Class Type: 1 Session

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Start Date: 01/28/2017

Days of the Week: Saturday

Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PST

Minimum Class Size: 5

Maximum Class Size: 20

$80.10 Member Price:
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$89.00 General Price:

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Arisa White

Arisa White is an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the author of the chapbook Post Pardon, which was adapted into an opera, as well as the full-length collections Hurrah's Nest and A Penny Saved. Her debut collection, Hurrah's Nest, won the 2012 San Francisco Book Festival Award for poetry and was nominated for a 44th NAACP Image Award, the 82nd California Book Awards, and the 2013 Wheatley Book Awards. Member of the PlayGround writers’ pool, her play Frigidare was staged for the 15th Annual Best of PlayGround Festival. One of the founding editors of HER KIND, an online literary community powered by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Arisa has received residencies, fellowships, or scholarships from Headlands Center for the Arts, Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, Rose O’Neill Literary House, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Hedgebrook, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Prague Summer Program, Fine Arts Work Center, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. A regional representative for Nepantla: A Journal for Queer Poets of Color, she is a 2013-14 recipient of an Investing in Artists Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, a BFA faculty member at Goddard College, and features on the album WORD with the Jessica Jones Quartet. Forthcoming from Augury Books, in fall 2016, is her third full-length collection, you’re the most beautiful thing that happened.

Teaching philosophy: Through my instruction I provoke workshop participants to think of who they are and to pay attention to what is at stake when writing. The writer has to know what he or she brings in order to know what is being used to one's advantage or what needs to be discarded. Which is why I include embodiment exercises as a part of my workshops. Directed meditation and movement activities help to situate the writer in their body before the writing begins. Doing so creates more spaciousness from which to resource their creativity and to connect the writing to more than just the mind’s story, but the bodymind’s story. I believe it is important to approach writing as alive as you can be—to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually present. I find that leading participants through a series of questions to generate writing—questions that approach the subject from unexpected angles and perspectives, that are emotionally rigorous, that mine the psychic depths, and foster a fresh way of sensing the experiences they intend to bring to the page. But more importantly, participants are reminded that they have much to say and possess a voice that is rich and ripe for the sharing.

Writers I always return to: Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Tyehimba Jess, and Adrienne Rich.

Favorite writing advice: “Follow your obsessions,” which poet Dara Wier imparted on me when I was feeling insecure about the subject matter I was choosing for my work. It was the permission I needed to write what I was moved to write—to allow the heart to direct the creative act.

Past Student Feedback:
"Thank you for the powerful workshop tonight-- the questions you guided us through were really generative for me. I especially appreciated the emphasis on tuning in to how we were feeling in our bodies/ where we feel things. Thank you also for sharing your work with us and for cultivating a space open to risk-taking and exploring vulnerabilities."

"Thank you so much for such an important workshop. I feel so deeply privileged to have been able to spend that time under your guidance. I learned a lot that I will keep with me for the rest of my life."

"Arisa, I can't thank you enough for creating such a powerful and inspiring afternoon! I found the movement between body and mind so useful, and really think I'm going to try some of that shaking/breathing into my own practice."

"It was a powerful and inspiring evening. It definitely put me in touch with my writing in a different way."

"You can ask yourself really personal questions to get a way into talking about difficult subjects."

"Rethinking how I go about writing poems, asking myself drastic questions can help me get out my writing style."

"I had more thoughts and ideas than I thought I would. I was surprised with what I came up with."

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