Remembering a poet and teacher

There was an obituary in today’s paper for Margaret Robison, poet, artist, and teacher. I met Margaret in the early 1980s when I took a 2 week summer writing workshop that she taught. I continued on for a year or so in a weekly poetry writing group that she led. It was my first venture into writing workshops, my first toe dip into taking myself seriously as a writer, and her playful, supportive group was the perfect place to take those first steps into exploring creativity.

I eventually recognized that I was more drawn to prose than poetry and left Margaret’s group–and lost track of Margaret, although I did hear that she’d had a stroke.

A year or so ago something sparked my curiosity about her and I found my way to her website. On the “About” page, she wrote about her life after her stroke. She wrote about living in an apartment with a view of a river and hills rising on the other side and that her relative immobility didn’t confine her. Her wise words have stayed with me:

“While it’s true that I had a difficult time feeling trapped in my body for a while after my stroke, I am anything but trapped in my body now,” she wrote. “First, I learned I could flow with the river with my eyes, just as I could climb the mountain to its top and back down again. I discovered that freedom from a paralyzed body not only had to do with my eyes. More importantly it had to do with memory, imagination, meditation, and prayer—and the boundless nature of the spirit.”

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