An event every week that begins at 12:00 pm on Monday, repeating until December 18, 2023
Mondays, Nov. 13, 20, 27 and Dec. 4, 11, 18
12- 1:30 p.m. EDT
$250 for six sessions
Muriel Ruckeyser wrote that the task of poetry is to help us see ourselves “as a person moving toward other persons, or a person moving away from other persons, or a person moving against other persons….in great poetry you feel a source speaking to another source.” In this spirit, one might say that all poetry, at least all great poetry, is Mussar poetry. Mussar is a historical tradition within Judaism which asks us how we might become more awake to the needs of the other. Mussar poetry, then, might be poetry that interrupts its own habitual self-absorption, that takes risks, that listens.
In this six-session Immersion, we will look at poems that not just describe but embody encounter itself, such as poetry written by people we might think of as ‘other’ and poetry in which the poem itself directly speaks to the reader. Poets covered will include Paul Celan, Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam, Naomi Shihab Nye, Ilya Kaminsky, Ariana Reines, and more. The course will prioritize a workshop component. We will be writing poetry – including poems in dialogue with the above poets and in response to particular prompts – all designed to take us out of our familiar styles and stances. We will be writing inside and outside of class time and sharing work during each session.
All sessions will be recorded and sent to participants. We encourage live attendance for you to get the most out of the experience.
Rabbi Joshua Boettiger is the Rosh Yeshiva at the Center for Contemporary Mussar and has taught Mussar for the past decade. He is the Jewish Chaplain at Bard College, where he also teaches, including the recent course, “The History of Jewish Poetry” (Spring 2023). Joshua has an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University and his work has appeared in The Southern Review, december, Willow Springs, Image, and elsewhere. Joshua was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2006. He is a Rabbis Without Borders fellow, and regularly teaches Jewish Meditation in different contexts, including retreat settings.
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