Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg has been writing poetry since she was 14, and has been publishing, leading workshops and collaborating with other artists for decades. About 10 years ago, she became especially interested in the concept of time.
“We live in time, which can move at many speeds or seeming hardly at all. This has been coming home to me for years as I’ve realized that in addition to writing poetry about how we live in place, community, and our bodies, we also live in our stories and histories, often unfolding in surprising ways,” Mirriam-Goldberg said.
Mirriam-Goldberg’s new book, How Time Moves, is the result of that 10 years of exploration and reflection on how time changes us and shapes us, as well as a selection of earlier poems.
“How Time Moves is my mothership of poetry books because it brings together how time has moved through 30 years of my poetry by including many of the poems from my previous six collections,” Mirriam-Goldberg said.
Mirriam-Goldberg PhD is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate. She is a writer, teacher, facilitator, coach and consultant who explores how the spoken, written and sung word can help us live more vibrant lives. Mirriam-Goldberg is the author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a nonfiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and the award-winning Chasing Weather.
Founder of Transformative Language Arts, she leads writing workshops, coaches people on writing and right livelihood, and consults on creativity. She leads Your Right Livelihood, a training on doing the work you love, with Laura Packer and Brave Voice: Writing & Singing for Your Life retreats with Kelley Hunt. As a beloved workshop facilitator, she has led workshops since 1992 for adults in transition, people living with serious illness, and intergenerational and multi-cultural groups.
Mirriam-Goldberg recognizes the value of consciously considering the passage of time, and how it impacts our experience in the world. Join a writing workshop with her on Sat, Jan 9, 2-4pm, to explore the impact of time through writing prompts and exercises. Register for the Zoom link. Mirriam-Goldberg hopes to see writers of all stripes join in.
“…[W]hether you write fiction, poetry, memoir, drama, songs, or other, you’ll find writing prompts and approaches that will help you generate a whole lot more great lines, ideas, and stories,” Mirriam-Goldberg said. “We’ll do some short, innovative, and meet-you-where-are writing exercises, have time to share in small groups, and talk about ways considering time and timelessness can feed our writing, but I’ll also share strategies to keep writing and keep generating your own best inspiration.”
Read on for a full interview with Caryn Miriam-Goldberg: teacher, poet and survivor.
Interview with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
Tell us just a bit about your new book. Can you give me your elevator pitch for why a reader should pick this up?
We live in time, which can move at many speeds or seeming hardly at all, and this has been coming home to me for years as I’ve realized that in addition to writing poetry about how we live in place, community, and our bodies, we also live in our stories and histories, often unfolding in surprising ways. So for the last 10 years, I’ve been writing a lot about time. How do we move through time and how does time move through us? What are the ways we can time travel through memory and yearning through our own lives? What are some of the gateway times in our lives from we cross over to new ways of seeing ourselves and the world?
I also write about pandemic time when so many of us have been slowed down in ways that allow us to see and connect with the world more acutely because we’re mostly in one place watching the seasons wheel through. How Time Moves is my mothership of poetry books because it brings together how time has moved through 30 years of my poetry by including many of the poems from my previous six collections.
Aside from poetry, what book genres do you love?
I love novels and memoirs, especially stories – true in one way or another (such as fiction making its own truth) – that take me on a journey through someone waking up to their own power or healing from trauma or finding the blessings in hard things, and I have a soft spot for magic realism or everyday magic. I gravitate also toward photography books that transport me to new places and ways of seeing old ones. Right now, I’m reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, which might just be a novel that speaks to all of what moves and teaches me the most.
Do you ever read a book based solely on its cover?
Yes, especially books of photography, but sometimes I’m drawn to a poetry collection based on the cover or even the colors and fonts in the spine.
Give us a teaser for the writing workshop you’ll lead for the library on January 9. Why do writers want to attend?
We’re going to write about time and the times in our lives that made a difference, and I love working with groups that bring together people writing in many genres because that can spark a lot more cross-pollination in terms of witnessing how we individually play with language as well as expanding our collective imaginations. So whether you write fiction, poetry, memoir, drama, songs, or other, you’ll find writing prompts and approaches that will help you generate a whole lot more great lines, ideas, and stories. We’ll do some short, innovative, and meet-you-where-are writing exercises, have time to share in small groups, and talk about ways considering time and timelessness can feed our writing, but I’ll also share strategies to keep writing and keep generating your own best inspiration.
You are a teacher, speaker, poet, and survivor. What’s next for you?
We all have our callings, the work we’re alive to do, and for me this encircles working with people and witnessing their courageous and curious creativity through writing workshops, coaching, and collaborative projects. I’m also thrilled to be working some great partners in crime – storyteller Laura Packer on offering the Your Right Livelihood training for people to find ways to discover and do the work that calls to them, whether it’s for livelihood, service, or art, and that’s coming up in Feb. (Learn more at yourrightlivelihood.com, and sign up for 10 free weekly guides.) And I love my continual partnership with Kelley Hunt – we’re offering our 16th annual Brave Voice: Writing & Singing for Your Life retreat in May (learn more at bravevoice.com).