Going home, going home…..

After my last trip to England a poet friend asked me if it was a “going home, going home trip”. She  was inquiring whether going to England  is ‘going home’ and then from England returning to Colorado is ‘going home’. Where is Home? What do we mean by Home? Is it a feeling? Is it a place?

Going east......

Going east……

Am I going home whichever way I cross the Atlantic? Am I at home wherever I arrive?

What I learnt is that I can be at home and find community in either place.

And that’s a privilege.

Going west.......

Going west…….

Journal prompt: Where is home for you? Is it where you currently live or where you have come from?

The idea of home, both literally and metaphorically, has been a  subject for  many poets from Robert Browning‘s Home Thoughts from Abroad to TS Eliot‘s Four Quartets and contemporary poets like Mary Oliver and David Whyte. Writers Tony Morrison & Marilynne Robinson among others have written novels entitled Home.

Mixed media journal prompt:

Collect photographs or make sketches of all the houses in which you’ve lived. Make them into one picture – put them all in the same street. Create the street of your life.

Then write a description of the street:

either go from house to house visiting each one in turn

or write architectural descriptions – create your own Pevsner chapter.

I’ve definitely been ‘at home’ this Christmas – and I hope you have too.

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5 Comments

  1. Kate Thompson

     /  January 1, 2013

    Hi Katrina
    That’s a wonderful meditation of the forms of home in your life and your awareness of where it feels right for you to be at any time.
    Poetry so often gives us that sense in surprising ways – as a poetry therapist you will see the power of poetry reflected in your work.
    Thanks for posting this.

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  2. I know London is my home, because whenever I commute there via the first bus in the morning, I have a tune playing in my head:
    ‘ You wake up, and suddenly, you’re in Lo . . . .ndon.’ 🙂

    I used to work in Local Government Accounting and spent much time in the office thinking ‘I want to go home’. Then I was studying chartered accountancy in my own flat, and my soul was craving: ‘I want to go home!’

    It took contraction of Type 1 Diabetes to end that particular mismatch.

    In the meantime, whilst studying for an Advanced Certificate in Dramatherapy, I resolved to become a Poetry Therapist. Actually, the decision crystallised while I was still manipulating numbers and it had never occurred to me quite how much I was to be challenged by this energy crisis. When people depend on you for knowledge of their resources, it is hard to change. When one’s insulin production is invaded by swarms of antibodies, it is impossible not to. Type 1 diabetes, though often confused with other varieties, is incurable.

    I am at home in Bristol, working as an editor to a Jewish poet in Chicago, who was brought up in a kibbutz in Israel just before the Second World War and prefers to write in Hebrew. Home can be a sacred place and it can be sabotaged.

    No amount of amending imagination can heal such amputation.

    The Song of Solomon 6.10 asks:
    Who is she that looketh forth as
    the morning, fair as the moon, clear
    as the sun, and terrible as an army
    with banners?

    I wrote this:

    Body Politic

    Mercury, Hercules, percolating
    fusion through earth and supernatural power.
    Winged courier, carrying dispatches
    direct from the head of omniscience
    to the heart of omnipotence – the hand
    omniitinerant delivering
    words, humble vibrations borne of the wind.

    Insulin, harbinger of energy
    communicates between vital organs
    of substance and worldly interaction
    vies with pancreatic antibodies
    which would destroy him at source. Stress may shoot
    the messenger. A quiver full of stress
    aims at the jugular. No winged sandal.

    29.11.2012 © Katrina

    Oh for some homœostasis in 2013!

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  3. Kate Thompson

     /  December 28, 2012

    When I shared my post in Lapidus (http://www.facebook.com/groups/58440316699/)
    Geraldine Green gave us this fascinating reply :
    Hi Kate & thanks for sharing from your blog! The concept of ‘home’ fascinates me. Here’s a couple of extracts from my PhD, ‘An Exploration of Identity and Environment through Poetry’ – thought I’d share them with you:

    “No place like home. No place like home.”
    (‘The Wizard of Oz’)

    Towards the end of my chapter on “Time and Place”, I touched on some of the meanings of the word ‘home’ and on its importance for me as a place / space where we dwell, not just actually but in our imaginations. …

    Home and identity are inextricably related and much of this chapter will revolve around the contemporary fragmentation of identity as people move and migrate, becoming “unsettled” and having to construct identities not so much by “the so-called return to roots” but as Hall argues, by a coming-to-terms with our ‘routes.’” He states that:

    ‘We need to situate the debates about identity within all those historically specific developments and practices which have disturbed the relatively ‘settled’ character of many populations and cultures, above all in relation to the processes of globalization, which I would argue is coterminous with modernity and the processes of forced and ‘free’ migration which have become a global phenomenon of the so-called ‘post-colonial’ world’ (Hall and Gay 2009: 4).

    Several of my poems explore this sense of how identities are formed by movement and migration, by an abandonment of home-centred identities and a process of finding new stories to tell about reinvented selves in distant places. In the words of Marina Tsveteva: “A poet dwells not at home but at the crossroads” (Tsveteva in Rothenberg and Robinson 2009: 12).

    “Everything that is interesting in nature happens at the boundaries” (Burnside)

    The spaces between the ‘self’ and ‘the other’ where everything takes place have long been a source of fascination for poets and myth-makers. … those Celts who once inhabited the British Isles … recognised a space which they called (in Irish) idir eathara that is, a boundary that is neither one place nor another, but the space between the two (Burnside 2000).

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  4. Kate Thompson

     /  December 28, 2012

    Thanks, Carry. That’s a beautiful collage of a poem. Your asylum seeker clients must have such different ideas of home, even as they try to find themselves a new place to call home.
    This would make a great exercise to create a group poem.

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  5. Carry Gorney

     /  December 28, 2012

    A wonderful exercise- ;home is .sitting under a mango tree in grandmother’s back yard;West Indies; distant blue mountains fringing a Polish village;a turquoise sea,a blue sky and gunshots getting closer.Sri .Lanka.
    What happens when my asylum seeker clients start . writing about home.

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