common place

aug 13 148

last week i started taking a fine MOOC called The Art of Poetry.  it’s taught by Robert Pinsky, and the main work of the class is creating a personal anthology.  Pinsky is asking us to keep a record of the poems that move us.  he wants us to handwrite or type out the poems that catch our attention as we move through the course.  he said that copying a poem was a wonderful way to pay close attention to a piece.  just this week The Washington Post interviewed Billy Collins, another former poet laureate,  about his life in poetry + education.  the piece includes a wonderful animated short about one of his students who still remembered a poem they had memorized in class 10 years later.

memorization, copywork, and keeping a commonplace book are familiar homeschooling practices, but i wonder if the habit of attention is.  i want to do a close reading of my life + work with my children.  i want to track what catches my eye.  i want to adopt a posture of attention, hoping that this sort of keeping will put me in the path of inspiration.

i recently took a picture of all my notebooks.  it seems like they are multiplying!  i have my square hardbound journal for writing + drawing, a handmade bullet journal for keeping a calendar + lists, and a small moleskine weekly notebook that i am using to make homeschooling notes.  i also have a tiny, blue moleskine that i use for Bible verses that i want to put in my heart.  stay tuned…i’ll be announcing a giveaway of some journals + zines later this week!

what sort of keeping do you do?



  1. I’ve joined you in the class…I’ll have some catching up to do, but I am very excited. Thank you for posting about it today.

    I’ve felt that desire within myself, to re-attend, re-orient. Things became so fractured with all the medical stuff, and I don’t feel like I did a good job of dwelling in place during that time. I am making that my goal now, this fall, as things have begun to calm.

    1. oh i’m so glad that you’ve joined…even if you don’t catch up or do all the assignments, there is a rich collection of readings + videos. i’m “onedeepdrawer” in the forums over there, though they are very hard to navigate.

      it cheers me that things are more calm, that the seasons are changing at your place, that healing is coming, that attention is shifting.

      peace keep you, dear one.

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