Participants in this weekly drop-in class will not only parse the fine line between good and evil but erase it entirely, freeing the angel and the devil on their shoulders to coalesce into one. We’ll use free-associative writing prompts and poems that traverse hallowed ground as keys to access our work as an archive of untreated spiritual maladies. Whether through the poem or the pews, we’ve often been culturally conditioned to look to a higher power in times of darkness, to pray and find salvation through piety—while neglecting or, worse, banishing the demon that skulks in our hearts. Each week in this class, we’ll unleash our demons. We’ll learn from our demons. We’ll praise our demons. By approaching our spiritual maladies through the purveyors of our grief, we’ll write to disarm our demons, to recognize them as wounded mirror images of ourselves and to discover their place on the page and behind the altar. Sharing will be encouraged but optional. (Note that drop-in classes are not a forum for critique of work; students looking for critique should register for multi-week workshops.)
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Anthony Thomas Lombardi is a Best of the Net– and Pushcart-nominated poet, editor, organizer and educator. He is the founder and director of Word is Bond, a community-centered reading series partnered with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop that raises funds for transnational relief efforts, bail funds and mutual aid organizations, and he serves as a poetry editor for Sundog Lit. A recipient of the Poetry Project’s Emerge-Surface-Be Fellowship, he has taught at Borough of Manhattan Community College, Paris College of Art, Brooklyn Poets, Polyphony Lit’s Summer Editorial Apprenticeship Program and for community programming throughout New York City. His work has appeared or will soon in the Poetry Foundation’s Ours Poetica, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, North American Review and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and their two cats.