Writing the Everyday: Artful Observation
Dates: 4 Wednesdays, March 2 - 23
Time: 6 - 8 pm
Instructor: Mia Ayumi Malhotra
In today’s frenetic, media-saturated world, what does it mean to slow down? To cultivate a “living relationship with the present,” as psychotherapist and gardener Sue Stuart-Smith says in A Well-Gardened Mind? How can we reclaim the lost grounds of our attention and cultivate writing habits that allow us to attend artfully to the everyday?
This will be an engaging, generative poetry class that draws inspiration from everyday life and the natural world. We will experiment with low-stakes observational practices like sketching, color studies, and plant gathering to foster new possibilities of growth in our writing. No background in visual art is expected or required, only a desire to cultivate greater attentiveness to the world around you.
In each class session, we will examine concepts like poetic image, description, and form through the world of tree rings, leaf pigmentation, and plant morphology. From there, we’ll follow the garden path to see how writers like Maggie Nelson, Michael Dickman, Ross Gay, and others powerfully ground their writing in experiences of daily life.
In practicing the art of observation, you will emerge with renewed inspiration and a wealth of creative exercises to enrich your writing. You also will have a unique record of the everyday—testament to the way that attention to the ordinary, over time, accumulates into a powerful, living document of one’s relationship with the present.
Mia Ayumi Malhotra is the author of Notes from the Birth Year (forthcoming spring 2022), winner of the Bateau Press BOOM Chapbook Contest, and Isako Isako, a California Book Award finalist and winner of the Alice James Award, the Nautilus Gold Award, a National Indie Excellence Award, and a Maine Literary Award. She is the recipient of the Hawker Prize for Southeast Asian Poetry and the Singapore Poetry Prize, and she holds creative writing degrees from Stanford University and the University of Washington.
Mia's poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Yale Review, Indiana Review, and Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience.