Author, storyteller, poet, teacher, and Poet Laureate of Kansas, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., will be in Tucson on a book tour this weekend and you might want to hear this dynamic and creative woman. I spoke with Caryn on the phone yesterday. She was in a coffee shop in chilly Lawrence, KS, I was home in sunny Tucson, just one of the reasons she’s excited about visiting our town.
Caryn is the founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College. According to their website,
Transformative language arts is a new and emerging academic field focused on social and personal transformation through the power of the written, spoken, or sung word. Drawing on all of the language arts, transformative language artists bring the language arts to community-building, cultural and ecological restoration, personal development, and many other areas of individual and collective liberation.
Transformative Language Arts include storytelling, writing, theater, spoken word – anything with words out loud and on the page. Caryn is also a member of the Healing Story Alliance, a special interest group of the at National Storytelling Network, the purpose of which is to “explore and promote the use of storytelling in healing”
Caryn sees storytelling as one way to bring communities together. She told me about an experience she had organizing a political group of very diverse people. The way the group found what action it made sense to take was when all 60 people told each other their stories. It was a way to understand the motives and history of each other, dispelling prejudice and making the group more cohesive.
On her website there is a reference to Tikkun Olam, a tradition in Judaism stating that the world is broken and it’s our job to help repair it. According to My Jewish Learning it has “come to connote social action and the pursuit of social justice”. According to Caryn, the way people make lasting transformations in their lives and heal the world is through story. If people can learn from the stories they are living they can use storytelling and writing to change their lives for the better.
You can catch Caryn at the following venues for the next 3 days:
Friday, January 15 at 7 p.m., readings from The Sky Begins at Your Feet and Landed at Silver Bells Trader at 7119 N Oracle Rd, 520/797-6852.
Saturday, January 16 at 6 p.m., following Havdallah Service, “Finding the Sky That Begins At Our Feet As We Change and Age,” reading and ceremonial writing at Temple Emanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Rd., 520/327-4501.
Sunday, January 17 at 10 a.m., “Landed: Poetry, Wonder and the Power of the Word to Land Us in Our Own Hearts,” at Temple Emanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Rd., 520/327-4501.
Sunday, January 17 at 2 p.m., Harvest Y Courtyard (5th Ave. and University) “Coming Home to Earth, Sky, Body and Community: A Reading with Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Special Guest Jefferson Carter” sponsored by Sky Island Alliance.