Linda Gregg Teaches Butler
By Jasmine James
Linda Gregg has the essence of a wise and well-traveled teacher; having taught in Hawaii, Iowa, New York, and two universities in California, she shared a few things with Butler students on Thursday, March 29, 2012. From the way that she talked to her autographing books shouts out her creative spirit.
Gregg shared that one exercise that she does with her students where she encourages them to observe six things a day and write about them. “Language is about 15,000 years old and seeing is 3 million years old. So clearly seeing has been around longer.” Of course anyone could look these facts up, but Gregg explained how important seeing and living is when writing. “By exploring everything you lose what you are writing, it teaches you how to see.” Her poems in The Middle Distance do just that. The book is almost like a journey throughout a lifetime. By writing about multiple events it is as if you are right there with the girl living life. She also impressed upon us how read poems.
Each writer gives insight about how or why they write but Gregg offered something that I had never heard before. Some of the best advice that she gave to the writers in the room is being open to having emotions and making contact with them. “If you want to write a poem, write it. If you don’t want to show it to the world don’t. But don’t play around with writing it.” She believes that poetry is a lyric and in a sense the song of one’s heart. Therefore discovering a poem is finding who you really are.