WRITE THIS SECOND ensures the variety of Transformative Workshops are adaptable, but has as its core tool poetic empowerment; the following briefly describes what the structure was like at Magnolia Women’s Recovery Programs in Oakland and Hayward.
At Magnolia, Kira Lynne Allen facilitated eight weeks of Poetic Empowerment workshops, including: collaging folders, five weeks of poetic prompts designed to evoke truth telling and empowerment for participants who didn’t see themselves as poets beforehand, a day of body tracing in each facility and three weeks of refining 2 poems each – for a culminating reading and anthology. It was such an honor to have Magnolia as the first site for workshops being taught under the name WRITE THIS SECOND; their Executive Director, Dr. Linda Stewart, had great faith in my abilities as a facilitator, and she was still overwhelmed by the end results.
At their final reading each woman received two copies of an anthology, a rose and a certificate of completion, which said:
WRITE THIS SECOND honors . . . For Cultivating Courage, Compassion, and Clarity / As a Tenacious Poet, Mother and Friend / May Resilience and Resolve Sustain You in Your Recovery
Engaging with a wide variety of populations over the last 20 years means having the ability to adapt the curriculum, tempo and emotional landscape of workshops to fit each organization’s needs.
One of the Magnolia women, Kristy was terrified to read her first poem because her mother and her four children were in the audience, the following is an excerpt from her poem, “Night Comes to Day”: Puff puff hit hit / My clothes come off /Mommy what’s that noise /I can’t go to sleep / Close your eyes go to sleep/I will never leave my children for drugs/ I ain’t you/Night comes to day / Mommy I am hungry/ Puff puff Hit hit / look in the fridge / Mommy I am only three I can’t cook / Damn you just wait/ Puff puff Hit hit /How many faces can you see in my cloud / Getting up looking in the mirror/ Damn I have become you.
My work as her teacher was to support Kristy in telling her truth and instill in her the confidence to take the stage in the first place.
My goal as the Founder & Facilitator of the WRITE THIS SECOND Workshops is to continue to connect with women in recovery or children in homeless shelters or any organization invested in empowering their community by helping people to reclaim their lives. Below is an excerpt from Kristy’s second poem, “Hello Sunshine”:
Its time to start
breaking these chains
chains of pain
It’s time to break the bondage
No more fear of being alone
I am a flower now
who is blossoming into her life
growing strong and tall
welcome to your new life and your new beginning
I am a flower who is shimmering
flowing words like water
quench my thirst
I grow nice and tall
The true miracle of this work came in what happened next, when Kristy left the stage knowing the secret shame she felt for so long didn’t make her spontaneously combust. Kristy was absolutely glowing and her entire family embraced her, the healing was palpable!
Kristy was just one of ten who participated in WRITE THIS SECOND Workshops at Magnolia. They each have their own beautiful story of transformation, which is always the goal.
Scheduling/Costs: To schedule a workshop please go to the Contact Kira page and fill in relevant fields, be sure to include something about what is compelling in what you’ve seen. Costs vary depending on the number of participants, type of workshop or combinations of workshops and time spent. Services can be tailored to fit individual and organizational interests – we will be sure contact you with more information, thank you so much.