Persona Poems from "A Kind of Freedom Song"

My second collection of poetry, A Kind of Freedom Song, contains poems in the voices of many different women, including several mythological women. Its most recent draft also expanded to include drawings and doodles around some of the book's themes. You can read a few of the poems on Schlosspost, the online magazine of the Akademie Schloss Solitude (where I have been a fellow since January 2017) at this link.

The collection is being published by Yoda Press and will be out later this year. 

Pots and Pens: Writing, Pottery, and Yoga Retreat in the Himalayas

I am super excited to be co-facilitating this writing, pottery, and yoga workshop, set in the midst of apple and cherry orchards in Himachal, from 28 September – 2 October 2017. Forest walks, gorgeous views, and farm fresh organic food are all on the agenda. We will balance our long weekend in the mountains between writing sessions, yoga classes, pottery workshops, hikes, picnics, and delicious farm-grown meals.

Typically, we will begin the day with a yoga class, read, discuss writing craft, and read to each other for 2-3 hours in the late mornings, then come back together in the evenings to write some more. October is one of the most beautiful times of the year to be at Shilaroo, with perfect weather and gorgeous views of the Churdhar range, so we kept one day for taking you into the forest (hiking or by jeep, whichever you prefer) and writing in response to nature. The remaining afternoons will be open for you to spend how you choose between pottery classes, walks in the forest nearby, farm-work, or simply relaxed day-dreaming.

To read more, or to register, click here

 

A Feminist Guide to Illness

As many of you may know, I have a couple of illnesses that have been part of how I move through the world for decades, and I finally got around to writing coherently about them for the Hindu Business Line. This is a long read, but in some very real ways, I have been writing this essay for years, and this is the best I could do by way of succinct! It's one of the scariest pieces of writing I have put out there so far, but it is also incredibly gratifying to finally have been able to articulate how these different threads of my mind, heart, and my body come together.

Do have a read here

Exercising the Empathic Muscle -- Artfully

"We will only “get” others emotionally to the degree that we become comfortable with emotion itself, something that our classrooms in general do not prepare us for. As art teachers, we must create spaces safe enough for students to express all of themselves, including their most vulnerable stories and feelings... In that mix of information and experience, feeling and body, context and care, a new possibility of empathy is born."

I wrote an article for Teacher Plus a while ago about Tasawwur and about how the arts can foster empathy... then I forgot all about it! When it showed up in my mailbox today, I remembered I should share it with you all

Here you go!

Selection for the Akademie Schloss Solitude Residency

This just showed up in my inbox: "Dear Ms. Rao: We are pleased to inform you herewith officially that you have been chosen for a six months fellowship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude by our juror for international literature, Ms Ahdaf Soueif. The fellowship includes a furnished studio apartment free of charge, a monthly grant, round-trip travel expenses, material costs and project funding."

In other words, I just received an offer to spend six months of next year writing and living and daydreaming at a wonderful artist residency located on the grounds of an eighteenth century Baroque style castle in Germany. Very excited to see what kind of writing and being comes out of this incredible opportunity, and very grateful to everyone involved in this selection process

More on the residency here