"In the beginning:" Exploring Questions of Spirituality & Religion Through Poetry

Jessica Jacobs's picture
Jessica Jacobs
February 3 to February 28, 2020
Tuition Cost: 
Class Size: 
4-Week Workshop

We live in a time of always more, always faster, where what’s new insists on itself as what’s most important. But outside this frenzy are questions that demand slow pondering, queries old as human consciousness: Why are we here? Is there a God? How do we live knowing our lives have a definite deadline? What does it mean to pray? The long history of human engagement with these ideas, the striving after answers, is best recorded in religious texts. There, we find the stories and rituals, commandments and prohibitions, that, whether or not we believe in a faith of our own, have shaped the world in which we live. And, as a model for our own writing, we'll be delving into the work of writers who've grappled with these ideas and texts, poets like Yehuda Amichai, Ada Limón, Kazim Ali, Jericho Brown, Eleanor Wilner, Marie Howe, and many more.

Intended for writers of all levels, each week will be a blend of close readings, spirited exchange, contemplative meditations, and generative exercises. In this workshop, we’ll add our voices to a conversation that stretches across geography and time.

Academic Year: 


Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going, published by Four Way Books in March 2019. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance, a biography-in-poems of Georgia O'Keeffe, won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. She received her BA at Smith College and her MFA in Poetry at Purdue University. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in publications including Orion, New England Review, Guernica, and The Missouri Review. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock climbing instructor, bartender, and professor—teaching for Hendrix College, UNC-Wilmington’s MFA program, and Writing Workshops in Greece, among other programs—and now serves as the Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, and is at work on parallel collections of essays and poems exploring spirituality, Torah, and Midrash.