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Posts Tagged ‘Aimee Nezhukumatathil’

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

On Saturday as part of the Festival of Words, I had the privilege to attend a small workshop with Aimee Nezhukumatathil. She led us through a number of writing exercises and ended with a discussion of the haibun.

From Poets.org: “Haibun combines a prose poem with a haiku. The haiku usually ends the poem as a sort of whispery and insightful postscript to the prose of the beginning of the poem. Another way of looking at the form is thinking of haibun as highly focused testimony or recollection of a journey composed of a prose poem and ending with a meaningful murmur of sorts: a haiku.”

Aimee added to this definition with two concepts: Aware, a Japanese concept similar to natsukashisa, a type of nostalgia with a fondness for what is gone but also slight optimism for what’s ahead and a sense of calm because this is the natural course of things. She also Nezhukumatathiled the form with the addition of scent. She spoke about scent as a way to activate the reader’s mind to a memory.

On Monday, I went to a former school to screen a student for gifted. They put me in my old room to do the testing and while the child took her test, I wrote this poem.

I enter the spacious classroom, and you are not here. So many hard days in masks and social distance
defined our relationship then. Your desk is gone. The smell of pencil shavings is sharp
mixed with musty-mold of an old school. Today I am testing a girl like you,
bright and edgy with a little swagger to her walk. But she isn’t you. No one can be you but you.
This chair, the small blue square that lost its cushion years ago, holds me again.
I trip over its wobbly wheels wishing you were here to laugh at me. Where are you now?
In another classroom, another school, same masked face, same suspicious eyes.
I want to know if you are OK. I only ever wanted you to be OK.

Students come in
Twist my heart into a knot
And leave it longing

Margaret Simon, draft
Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

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