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Magical Poetics: Inhabiting the Ritual Word

If we look at the word as a magical unit, we can inhabit the writing rituals of poets from various traditions and explore possibilities for making more room for magic within our own writing. We’ll unpack the relationship between magic and poetry through the lenses of rhetoric, Romance, literary theory, the creation of personal rituals, digital communication, and more. 

Magical Poetics
Inhabiting the Ritual Word

Taught by Megan Freshley

Thursdays || September 1st - 22nd || 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Social Justice Action Center || 400 SE 12th Ave.
Four weeks, $100 || Space is limited. 

What is magic exactly, and how does it relate to poetic craft? Poets often cite a connection with with the magical imagination as a source for their work. If we look at the word as a magical unit, we can inhabit the writing rituals of poets from various traditions and explore possibilities for making more room for magic within our own writing.

In this course, we’ll unpack the relationship between magic and poetry through the lenses of rhetoric, Romance, literary theory, the creation of personal rituals, digital communication, and more. Beginners and experienced poets are welcome.

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination.
— Keats

Week 1: Romance + Rhetors
What is performative utterance and how can it help us bring the "truth of imagination" into our daily lives? We'll explore the connective tissue between the mystical and the mundane via ancient thinkers, literary theorists and the Romantic poets.

Week 2: Magic in 20th Century Poetics
If language is a magical medium, then we can use it to experience and alter our environment. We’ll look at 20th century poets who used their craft for social activism as well as the nature poets who branched from the Romantic tradition.

Week 3: Ritualizing the Creative Process
How are some of the magically-inclined poets of our times operating, and how do their creative processes come into play? Why are witches having a cultural moment, and what are all those witches up to? We will brainstorm our own tailor-made poetic rituals.

Week 4: Performative Utterances
Share your own ritual-derived creative work generated during the course, or just observe your classmates' projects. Leave with a broadened framework for continuing your own poetic practice.


Megan Freshley is a writer, editor, and witch living in Portland, OR. She taught writing at PSU and served as an editorial assistant for McSweeney’s Poetry Series. Megan’s work is published in Stay Wild, 1001, Poor Claudia: Phenome, and Witch Craft Magazine. She was a 2013 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize.