Writing Your Own Psalms

Welcome

Writing your own psalms of praise. Let’s share the psalms and talk about them a bit. Here’s a short exercise to limber you up. Think of one experience you’ve had for which you want to express gratitude, ideally an immediate one and describe it in as much detail as you can.

Different forms a psalm can take: acrostic, narrative, rhyming/not, for one voice or two, song lyrics, script – up to you; and/or: response to an existing psalm, rewrite its ideas in your own idioms; what else?

Brainstorm: ways of talking to God (names, modes of address – first person, second person, third person)

How do you relate to psalms? Do you read them, pray them? Open your bible to psalms to get answers to questions?

What makes a psalm? (In your opinion)

Bear in mind that prayer is intimate and we’re making ourselves vulnerable together.

The psalms are deep repository of praise, thanksgiving, grief, and exaltation, an ancient collection of poetry that also functions as prayer. I encourage you to become a psalmist. Explore what makes psalms, read psalms both classical and contemporary. Warm up your intellectual muscles with generative writing exercises, and enter into a safe space for creativity as you write your own psalms.

“Writing your own psalms” workshop led by Rachel Barenblat. When I met with Rachel I knew she was going to inspire me. I came up with some questions to ask Rachel “Interview Style”

Here are the Q&A I asked Rachel Barenblat

  1. Where can I find your 70 faces Torah Poems? You can find her Torah Poems at http://velveteenrabbi.blogs.com Each of the poems in 70 Faces arose in conversation with the Five Books of Moses. They enrich any (re)reading of the Bible, and will inspire readers to their own new response to these familiar texts. 70 faces Torah Poems by Rachel Barenblat
  2. As I congratulated Rachel on being named one of Top 25 bloggers by TIME. I asked her how did she do it? Her advice was “just keep writing don’t be afraid to speak your mind interact with people and let them know you are out there”

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat is author of four chapbooks of poetry. She is a contributing editor at Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture. She has blogged as the Velveteen Rabbi. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, among them Confrontation, The Texas Observer, and Poetica. Rachel enjoy’s her family and reside in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts.

Inspired by Psalm 39

Confess your sufferings

“I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, And my sorrow grew worse”

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I am silent I have not said a word I will hold my peace

I will not offend anyone because I am silent. My words will not speak death I am silent.

I have nothing to speak on I have nothing to say. Being speechless and quiet kept me in pain.

My creator have control over my life even when I’m silent I have a burning desire to speak, but I am silent.

I cry out for help and I pray in silence. I have nothing to say and I will not open my mouth I am silent.

Remove me from noise remove me from sin do not punish me Lord I have been silent.

by Ranisha Grice.

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