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Poetry as Altar: Creating Space for the Sacred


“In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.”—Denise Levertov

Día de los Muertos, retablos, and ofrendas will serve as models for our poems in this workshop. Altars create a sacred space in the home and are used as a place of prayer and worship, reflection and meditation or song. They can function as sites where family history is actively preserved, where loved ones are celebrated and remembered with pictures and artifacts. The Mexican home altar tradition is centuries old, but it is not the only culture to embrace the art of the home altar—Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, and Santeria are a few examples of other faiths that have a home altar tradition.

We will explore the altar tradition and build our own poetry altars, following the traditions of many contemporary poets of the sacred such as Kaveh Akbar, Marilyn Nelson, José Araguz, Rigoberto González, Jane Hirshfield, Mary Szybist, Leila Chatti, Ross Gay, and Rosebud Ben-Oni. Join us in laying marigolds and sweet bread and whatever items or images are sacred to you upon the altars of our poems. 

Four weeks / $300
Teaching artist: Jennifer Givhan


Earlier Event: February 5
Back to the Garden: Revisioning Myth