Spring Craft Intensive: Shira Erlichman


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Editor's Note

Uncommon Portraiture: Writing Dignity, Desire & Dimension with Shira Erlichman
Thursday, June 8
2 PM – 5 PM PST/ 5 PM – 8 PM EST

Our daily lives are filled with ordinary encounters with extraordinary beings. But do we approach a flying cockroach or the collard greens on our cutting board as beings in their own right? Anais Nin said, “Where the myth fails, human love begins. Then we love a human being, not our dream, but a human being with flaws.” The same can be said of roaches, cutting greens, opossums, or onions. When we honor all beings for their singularity and vitality, real love begins. This session will investigate how to craft poems of encounter with deeper empathy and imagination. Guided by Gerald Stern, we’ll meet roadkill prayerfully. Via Craig Arnold, a raucous large moth will break open questions about the very nature of the soul; and via Etel Adnan’s twenty-year obsessive relationship with a mountain, we’ll expand the possibilities of loving. We’ll employ craft tactics of personification, specificity, micro and macro lenses, and repetition in order to approach all beings not as their human superiors, but as their devotees.

BIO:  Shira Erlichman
is a writer, musician, and visual artist. Her award-winning poetry collection Odes to Lithium centers around her experiences with mental illness & was celebrated for its “stylistic upheavals” & “tremendous malleability & verve” (NY Times). Be/Hold: A Friendship Book, the picture book she wrote & illustrated, uses compound words to illuminate what is possible when we come together. Her work, heralded for “destigmatizing Bipolar Disorder through candor, intimacy & creativity” (NY Times), has been featured in PBS, The Nation, The Huffington Post, The Seattle Times, and The New York Times, among others. She earned her BA at Hampshire College and is the founder of In Surreal Life, a portable creativity school known for its dynamic online writing community. She has been awarded a MacDowell Fellowship, the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe, as well as a residency by Millay. She was a Finalist for the Lambda Award and a Silver Medalist for the Nautilus Award. She lives in Brooklyn.