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A Taste Of Spirit...And Then What?


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Course dates: 
Monday, 24 October, 2016 to Friday, 28 October, 2016

With Coleman Barks, Martin Shaw and Lisa Starr

Non-Residential Places available. All Residential Places are now sold out. To book onto this course as a non-residential participant, use code Non-Res-TOS16 at checkout for a £150.00 discount.

“The passions of the soul make the desert habitable. One inhabits, not a cave of rock, but the heart within the lion. The desert is not in Egypt; it is anywhere once we desert the heart” - James Hillman

Seeds bud, conversations erupt, the pen turns in the ink and a low note is struck on the cello. What is this unfolding? Join Coleman Barks, Martin Shaw and Lisa Starr for a foray into the well of imagination. Over five days we will enjoy poetry, spontaneous writing, ancient story, music and time in nature at the seasons turning.
Martin Shaw will bring exploration of ancient stories and their relationship to the living world. Morning sessions will consist of the telling and exploration of stories from Greek and eastern European fairy tales. How can it be that these archaic myths feel like they happened to you this morning?
Coleman will come in in the afternoons (maybe some mornings too) and try to encourage the conversation.  His emphases might run from the pleasure of the ecstatic state to the boredom of self-absorption. There will also be music, wild speculation and some study. Come, hear these travellers tell of their dreams, and bring some of your own.

During this week we will explore, with spontaneous writing and conversation, what's useful to us and what isn't, what has energy and beauty, love and longing and where it resides. We will try to be honest with each other, and helpful.

Rumi, James Hillman and Mary Oliver will be among our key inspirations.


Coleman Barks is a renowned poet and the bestselling author of many books including The Essential Rumi and Soul Fury: Rumi and Shams Tabriz on Friendship. He taught English at the University of Georgia for thirty years, and now focuses on writing, readings and performances. He was featured prominently in both of Bill Moyer’s PBS television series on poetry, The  Language of Life and Fooling with Words.


Martin Shaw is a mythologist, storyteller, and author of Snowy Tower: Parzival and the Wet, Black Branch of Language. Dr. Shaw devised and led the Oral Tradition course at Stanford University, and is director of the West Country School of Myth. Much of his work derives from a four year period living in a black tent on a succession of English hills.



Lisa Starr, Rhode Island's Poet Laureate, divides her time among a variety of interests, her children, and her passion for poetry. She is a two-time recipient of the R.I. Fellowship for Poetry. In her capacity as Poet Laureate, Starr is generating writing circles among student and elderly communities around the state. She has also established poetry circles in hospitals, homeless shelters, prisons, and agencies for children and adults with severe mental and physical disabilities. Starr's third collection of poems, Mad With Yellow, was published in September, 2008. She is the author of two other books: This Place Here (2001) and Days of Dogs and Driftwood (1993). Starr is the founder and director of the Block Island Poetry Project, a nationally acclaimed celebration of the arts and humanity, now in its 6th year. A poet by choice and an innkeeper by necessity, Starr owns and operates the Hygeia House, a 10-room inn on Block Island.

£ 650.00
Course fees include basic accommodation, all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon, and includes four nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. Non-Residential Places available. All Residential Places are now sold out. To book onto this course as a non-residential participant, use code Non-Res-TOS16 at checkout for a £150.00 discount.