I’m writing this from my partner’s family farm in rural Illinois. It’s pretty easy to stay socially distant when you’re 40 miles away from the nearest grocery store. Astrid did great on the drive, and I can’t tell you what a joy it is to leave 105-degree heat for 85. I love summer, but I feel like Texas has gotten hotter the past few years. On my first morning here, we saw a mated pair of bald eagles flying over the farm.
Just before I left, I signed my contract to teach my first workshop with the Loft Literary Center! When I saw the call for course proposals this spring, I decided to jump at the chance. I’m thrilled to announce that Hawks Don’t Circle: Accuracy and Expansiveness in Nature Poetry is now open for registration! And since their offerings are all online this fall, you can take this course no matter where you live. Don’t live in Minnesota? Intent on maintaining social distancing? Wondering how you can connect with the wilderness in your own back yard? I’ve got you covered!
I first encountered the Loft back in 2013. I was exploring the possibility of doing an online MFA, and trying different online writing courses to see if the format would work for me. I was awarded a scholarship to take Bent Forms: Exploring and Exploding Formal Poetry with Paula Cisewski, and that class still resonates with me. It deepened my appreciation of poetic form, and the writing prompts yielded some rich work from all of the students.
In early 2016, I pitched a course to the Loft. It was one I’d taught before, but back then I was a greener teacher with minimal experience pitching courses and workshops. My proposal was declined, and then I got busy with my MFA, and then I spent nearly two years in MFA recovery. But although the pandemic has taken so much from all of us, in a way it’s also brought me back to some things.
When I submitted my application this spring, I knew that even if my workshop proposal didn’t get accepted, I knew I had definitely grown as a teacher and a proposal writer over the past four years. Putting together an application I was satisfied with, knowing I’d done my level best, was its own reward.
Of course, I was still thrilled to get the acceptance email. While I’m not giving up teaching technical writing anytime soon, I am thrilled to be moving back into the world of creative writing again. Wherever you are, I hope you can join me in September.