Teacher, Poet, Language Midwife

I was cooking dinner last December, thinking about what else to add in for more weekly income and work. I thought about a writing tutor position I had considered last year, I was taking sweet potatoes out of the oven, remembered I had hands, checked my email to find a message from the Department Chair at Berklee I had emailed months before about possible teaching opportunities for the spring. Her asking if I might be interested in a writing tutor position, for the spring. I had set the intention of making a certain amount of income by January 2019, applied for ten salaried jobs last year, fear of losing my connection to the work and a life that have become so soulful; someone else having said it’s another kind of soulfulness to take care of yourself. And I felt the expansion as I walked beneath a purpling Wednesday night sky to get milk and sweet potatoes in the South End, that way hijab women walk back over scorched earth to bathe themselves in wound. Neighborhoods of ex’s and other things that didn’t go as planned.  It’s been a perpetual contraction and expansion these past few months, artist housing I thought I had secured for March 1st having fallen through, hunting for homes on Craig’s List, my yoga teacher two weekends ago reminding us as we moved through sun salutations slowly, that we can stay expansive even in the pressurized places. In the liminal space between where we’re going, and where we’ve been. I spent this past week in my first four days as Writing Center Tutor at Berklee, almost every student I worked with ESL, and when the student from South Korea had written something about film having planted happiness in her heart when she was little, that it was why she wanted to now film score, the other tutor helping her approaching what she has written from the vantage point of brain over body, saying planted in her heart wasn’t quite the right phrase–like so many of us have been taught to do– I saw her delete her corporal feeling, backspacing one word at a time over illuminated letters to make the language more grammatical, and cerebrally linear, my own throat wanting to boom like hyacinth in spring that the body too is pragmatic. That the art lives in the skin like oxygen. And when a student from South Korea comes  to work with me the next day on her music essay, I see she has written that piano is like breath in her heart, that feelings she can’t always express flow out through her piano fingers, and so we figure out how to make that phrase necklace, unalterable decoration adorned on the body of her essay. Remembering my own desirable collapse of living only in the cerebral territory of reason.

6 responses to “Teacher, Poet, Language Midwife

  1. Welcome to Bazerklee. We need you and your embodied approach in our fold. So happy to know it. Hope you are well.


    Bradford Gleim Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music Teaching Associate, Voice Department, Brown University Instructor, Holden Voice Program, Harvard University cell: 617.645.8910 http://www.bradfordgleim.com


    • Hi Rachel, It’s so good to hear from you! I hope you and Ryan are well. I’d love to see you at GrubStreet sometime. I’m there next on February 22 for a 3 hour poetry seminar. Let me know if you have any questions. ❤

  2. You are 150% in the right place, right now! Remember that, take it into your heart, and try not to question it. I am interested in Feb. 22nd as well. I may ::cough cough:: call in sick to work, so I may write my heart. We will see. I’ll be in touch!

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