Galiano Workshop

Just back from the wonderfully relaxing Galiano Island Literary Festival at the Galiano Oceanfront Inn & Spa, where I offered my workshop on Writing as Internal Alchemy, which is part of my Pen & Dragon: Kung Fu for Writers series. Workshop participants awakened their bodies with selected Liuhebafa movements and Healing Sounds Chi Gong to unleash the mind and stimulate the flow of words.

Green Dragon Stretches Claws, 14th movement of Liuhebafa

The photo shows us doing Green Dragon Stretches Claws – move #14 of Liuhebafa, an ancient Chinese martial art that purports to hold the key to immortality. This move references and stimulates the liver (green dragon), but also the spring-like awakening of female generative energy. We then sat down and wrote our “awakened” couplets beside the sea.

The following poem, “Awakenings”, is a collective work assembled from our couplets.

The workshop participants who contributed to this poem are listed alphabetically at the end, since the poem now stands as an organic whole authored by us all.

February 28, 2011
(Galiano Island, BC)

Winter’s simmering stillness
releases frozen potential

The sole of the foot is thick with soft solidity
and firm flexibility

Time carves grottos in my weathered mind
each one a tiny shrine of memory & seaweed

Tousled glimmerings beneath edges
upend slowly, rustling forest duff

Blue gargoyles atop rosemary spires guard entrance
to my dreams, keep ocean from pouring in

Shake and drop winter sleeps in ones
and twos, then groups, till none but new appears

A trickle gives way to a flood
of sensations almost forgotten

Bivalves chirp inside salt pudding, green bubbles
rush off to join the circus rolling past

Write an awakened couplet on this first day of March
Wake up coupled in the early frost and sun

Morning goldeneye dives deep for my
red rock crab heart

Smooth, sharp, or spongy – the earth always returns
the caress

Wakened by coupling into vigorous compassion
awake, awash, alive in this loving cup

Now whatever it was, sitting there laden
is what it will be, sitting there born

* * *

Poets: Deblekha Guin, Kim Goldberg, Richard McCullough, Rose, Shannon Taylor

About Kim Goldberg

Kim Goldberg is a poet, journalist and the author of 8 books of poetry and nonfiction. Latest titles: DEVOLUTION (poems of ecopocalypse), UNDETECTABLE (her Hep C journey in haibun), RED ZONE (poems of homelessness) and RIDE BACKWARDS ON DRAGON: a poet's journey through Liuhebafa. She lives in Nanaimo, BC. Contact:
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6 Responses to Galiano Workshop

  1. Allayna says:

    The hoetnsy of your posting shines through

  2. Richard McCullough says:

    I loved this workshop and it sparked off new directions for my writing. The co-constructive writing environment and communal focus on writing couplets according to the framework of luihebafa lead to a wonderful group poem, which challenged my solitary production style. I later adapted this format to work with English language teachers and learners at a conference in Indonesia focusing on Creative Writing in the Asian context to great success. The workshop has given me fresh ideas to use not only with my language learners but also to sharpen my own writing style. Thanks Kim and all the participants!! –Richard.

  3. All of this is so very very cool. I love the idea of slow graceful movements inspiring poetry.

  4. Andrew Brown says:

    neat idea. Maybe you can try it with the class on Thursday. Andrew

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