Poetry has the power to restore and heal, both within our lives and in our relations with land and neighbors. In this one day workshop, we will reflect on a series of poems by Mary Oliver, Joy Harjo, Wendell Berry, and Alice Walker. Their wise words invite us to see anew our place in Earth-community, a place of humility, gratitude, wonder, and care. With Nancy Victorin-Vangerud, Ph.D. Religion, University Chaplain, Hamline University.
Walking with Poets in the Woods
When: Saturday, November 21, 2020, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m
Instructor: Nancy Victorin-Vangerud, Ph.D. Religion, University Chaplain, Hamline University
Where: WEI’s Amador Hill Farm and Orchard, 15715 River Road, North Branch MN Registration Fee: $65
November is the time of the year when the fall harvest is in, birds have migrated south, and many of the trees have shed their leaves to replenish the soil of the forest floor. Those of us forest-walkers can see the sky through the trees—it is as if the woods have gone to sleep, sheltering silence, yet remaining present in such a prescient way. As we walk in the woods, and along the edges of the fields, we are invited by the wise words of poets into a landscape of gratitude, thankful for the trees, the buried seeds, the creatures of the land, and all that is stored away between life and death, awaiting spring’s renewal. The four diverse poets selected—Mary Oliver, Joy Harjo, Wendell Berry, and Alice Walker—express deep spiritual awareness of our lives embedded within nature’s community, brimming-over with gratitude, humility, and compassion. We will invite their words to fine-tune our senses to the wonder and wisdom of the forest and the fields, inviting us to belong to one another and the world anew. The day together will include poetry reading in circle-time together, contemplative walking in the woods, and exercises in gratitude journaling. Poems provided but bring a journal and pen.
Nancy Victorin-Vangerud is an avid urban gardener in south Minneapolis and chaplain at Hamline University in St. Paul. Over the years she has come to consider reading poetry a spiritual practice with the power to heal and renew our lives.