IWWG Writing Circles
The Guild is known for its soulful women. Its joyful workshops. Its acclaimed teachers and facilitators. But perhaps most of all, the Guild is known for its sense of community. Over the last year, this connectedness has become more important than ever.
Now, after a great deal of feedback and input from our members, the Guild is embracing another way of honing into our vibrant community. This summer, we are delighted to launch a series of writing circles.
These writing circles will vary based on your needs and interests. Some will be facilitated by a Guild instructor to provide extra focus and structure. Others will be self-led by the group members. Some will be organized by geography and some will be organized by genre. But no matter what, you will be provided with the resources you need, including Zoom tech support.
If you have a writing circle you would like to facilitate through the IWWG, please email Kelsey@iwwg.org with your interests (genre, geography, etc) and we will begin to set those up for you.
Facilitated Writing Circles
Imagination and Justice: Meditation and Free-Writing Circles
April 15, 22, 29, and May 6, 13, and 20, 2023
An activist’s faith can never be unquestioning … can never oversimplify, as believers and activists are often tempted or pressured to do. Adrienne Rich
These freewriting circles are intimate and expansive. We hold space for the complexities of our own and each other’s stories. Each time we meet, we start with a few minutes of silence followed by a short guided free-write and share to check in. Then Lisa guides us in two more rounds of meditation, free-writing, and sharing. The sharing is always optional.
Holding the silence together is a bonding activity, and as the weeks unfold, we connect more deeply through our writings. This is how we help each other take writerly risks to reveal our experiences and imaginings. And this is how we support each other as we dare to share our voices and visions with the world.
Meditators, writers, dreamers, and activists at every level of experience are welcome. All genres are welcome. These circles are a place to write or re-write material that dwells (or wants to dwell) in the realm where the personal is political. You may already be working on a relevant project, or you may be starting a new one. Either way, you and your stories, your writings are welcome here.
Participants receive the prompts and background materials each week. These come from many sources, including Ada Limon, Ross Gay, adrienne maree brown, and Ilya Kaminsky.While this is a generative, free-writing circle, participants are often surprised by the power of the words that land on the page. Those of us in the first Imagination & Justice Circle, which took place in the fall of 2021, are delighted to have our writings (with just a little bit of editing) collected by the IWWG in the anthology, Roots/Trunk/Sky, which you can read here: Read Anthology
Lisa Freedman is a writer, activist, and New School Writing Program faculty member. She founded Breathe/Read/Write as a contemplative response to the chaos of the U.S. elections in 2016. BRW combines meditation and freewriting so participants clear the static and astound themselves with the flow and clarity that comes when they set their pens on the page. As a practitioner of Shambhala Buddhism, Lisa knows how inspiring it can be to share the open space of silence. And she has a knack for choosing free-write prompts that connect writers to what they need to say. Lisa leads BRW circles for The NY Zendo, the International Women’s Writing Guild, The Poetry Barn, and the New School’s Social Justice Hub, among others. Her work with BRW earned a 2021 NYFA Community Artists Corp Grant.
Lisa holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. Her creative work can be found in these anthologies: Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance; Literature from the First 20 Years of Art & Understanding; and Grabbing the Apple: An Anthology of New York Women Poets. Her poetry and prose also appear in Satya Magazine, POZ, Poetry Ration, and others. For more info, see the Breathe/Read/Write Eventbrite page and Lisa’s Writing Coach website.
Writing poetry is a means to channel our grief allowing for personal expression. In this course, we explore how poetry can be a sacred container for the holy act of grieving. Each of our grief journey's are uniquely our own and the objective of this course is to create space to get closer to our feelings around loss and express our own unique stories through poetry. The class is not meant to replace therapy or grief counseling, but rather is a course focusing on how we can use the craft of poetry to cultivate sacred space and express our stories of grief with love and honesty.
Author of the poetry collection, City of Pearls (UpSet Press 2019), Sham-e-Ali Nayeem is a Hyderabadi Muslim American poet, sound practitioner, interdisciplinary artist and recovering social justice lawyer. She has released two albums, City of Pearls (2019) and Moti Ka Sheher (2023) featuring musical interpretations from her book. Sham-e-Ali is the recipient of the 2022 Leeway Transformation Award and the 2016 Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship.