April has crept up on me, but time has a way of doing that. Spring is definitely showing itself in all its glory here in Missouri: flowers, birds, warm weather, being more comfortable outdoors. It’s an uplifting time.
The picture above is of my neighbor’s and my phlox collection, planted just last summer. They survived the winter, even showing a bloom or two between cold snaps. But, they are in their element now. Seeing them whenever I go out makes me happy.
April is also National Poetry Month. I spent last weekend at the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) conference in Denver. It was a wonderful conference with great workshops, outstanding speakers, and comfortable camaraderie. These people are one of my tribes. I’ve been a part of the association for at least 20 years, maybe a few more than that. I haven’t been active for a few years, because I stopped facilitating groups and resigned from the board. But I have attended conferences off and on since then.
I attended this conference because I missed my people, but also because of the keynote poet, Naomi Shihab Nye, one of my favorite poets. She did not disappoint. Her presentation, reading, and interview were fantastic. She is genuine and very personable, just as I’d hoped. The keynote speaker, Joy Sawyer, was dynamic, too. She recapped the history and work of NAPT and its people very well. I know her personally and was delighted to see her again after many years. The workshops I attended were well prepared and excellent. There are many talented people in this organization.
Poetry can be, and is, used in therapy, just as art, music, and other creative activities are. I facilitated groups at my local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for several years using my NAPT training and credentials and watched it work, and work well.
I wrote a brief poem based on my experience at the conference:
excited for the opportunity of being together
finally again in person after the Covid pandemic has eased.
We smile and laugh and I bask in my happiness.
In a whirlwind of activity with
speakers, poetry, workshops, and just hanging out,
we exchange experiences, personal and professional,
and give each other encouragement – and our attention.
Poetry abounds in an atmosphere of acceptance,
the open mic a showcase for our work
in all our different guises. We blossom.
In this insulated environment,
we are free to be who we are with each other.
It’s for only a few days, but we can relax
and enjoy the process and the progress we have made.
Write about one of your tribes if you have one or more. What keeps you together?
What is your favorite writing time? Write about why that is a good time for you.
Write about your experience at a conference. What did you come away with?