Poetry and Healing
Date: Saturday, March 14
Time: 10 am - 3 pm (with one-hour lunch break)
Instructor: Zubair Ahmed
The healing power of poetry is unfathomable. Engaging in this art can leave one feeling cleansed and light inside. However, many who write poetry may not write in a way that touches their wounds with this potential. Many who write poetry shroud themselves with anxieties and judgments. They may fear the writing, may dread the sharing, may believe they are not good enough to be a poet. And at worst, many may write not for themselves but for a perceived “audience.”
This course explores another way of writing – one that is highly personal, not necessary meant for sharing, a way to write for the sake of writing – that aims to tap this miraculous healing that may be the heart of all art.
To be human is to be poetry – the two are indistinguishable, and therein lies the potential for healing. We will create a safe space where attendees can dig within to find their wounds, what they would like to heal, then write about it. This is the essence.
Before coming to class, students will be asked to do some homework – find poems that deeply move them, read those poems the day of or the day before the class, and maybe bring in one or two of them to share. The class will begin with this sharing.
After we’ve warmed up, we’ll discuss how to write poems. Then, we’ll create some silence in the class where we can reflect. We’ll search our memories for anything we wish to heal. After some reflection, we’ll write poems about these memories. To end the class, we will share what we have discovered, though sharing will be optional.
Zubair Ahmed is a Bengali-American poet who moved to the U.S. in 2005. While in college, he was haunted by images and memories of the 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh. Those yearnings and movements gave birth to his first full-length collection, City of Rivers, the third book in the McSweeney’s Poetry Series. Soon after the book was written and published, the ghosts from the war left him. He experienced a profound and permanent healing. That experience is the foundation of his class "Poetry and Healing."
Zubair is a software engineer by profession, and dabbles in many forms of art, from photography to penmanship to music, poetry being one of his favorites. He is a Stanford alumni and first-generation college graduate. He lives in Oakland, CA with his lovely life partner, Alexandra.