Poetry Forge
Holly in studio with feathers.jpg


Online courses and in person workshops offered by Poetry Forge, taught by Holly Wren Spaulding.


a process

& good company

that honors the work & your place in it

A Secret Life: who are you when no one is looking?

A Secret Life: who are you when no one is looking?


Who are you when no one is looking?
What would you create in that secret space?

pause. reclaim. align… 
your way of living and being 
with what really matters.

something is ready to manifest through you.

The next session of this annual course begins on Winter Solstice, December 21, 2018 with the theme of Darkness. As our season shifts toward winter in the Northern Hemisphere, we naturally seek a quiet space in which to reflect: on the past, present, future. As creative people, we begin to think about what we may want to manifest in the coming year. We dream of the time to work on things we care about, the space to dedicate our attention, and why this is important. This course provides structural support for that process. It provides guidance, encouragement, and provocative questions to shape your inquiry.

Course dates: 
December 20, 2019—January 17, 2019

my part. 
Receive six weekly lessons, via email, each containing a brief audio message, thoughtful readings, contemplative writing prompts, personal worksheets, & practical guidance for cultivating your secret life.

Each lesson explores a theme as it relates to the contemplative creative life:

Week 1: Welcome the Dark 
Week 2: Make Space 
Week 3: Retreat 
Week 4: Contemplate 
Week 5: Illuminate 
Week 6: Reveal

I’ll encourage you to uncover something hidden but important, & align your choices & lifestyle to give this idea, secret project or endeavor more space & attention in the following months.

In early January, after you've gotten settled, I will invite you to meet for a live webinar, which I will also record for those who cannot be present.

at the end of the course, you are invited to schedule a private 45-minute creative mentoring session with me … to nudge your vision into concrete form, because ideas need allies, & I am here to help you make your secret life more real. to help coax your secret project into the world.

your part. 
for the duration of the course, commit to clearing a quiet space as part of a larger mission to reclaim territories of life & experience that might otherwise remain dormant or neglected.

as an enhancement to the experience, consider abstaining or curtailing your use of digital devices and social media during for the course, as this is a particularly powerful way to guard your attention for more creative and contemplative endeavors.

engage with brief readings, worksheets & writing provocations each week. make rest and reflection a priority at the beginning of your year.

conceive a project or idea for a project of whatever size, to be manifested within the coming year.

benefit from a private 45-minute dialogue with me at the end of the session.

I recommend having 3 or more hours available for this course each week, although you can do the work on whatever schedule suits you.

your secret life. immeasurable

*If you would prefer to send a check, just email poetry forge (at) gmail (dot) com to be added to the class list. I will follow up with an address where you can mail your tuition.

NOTE: all 1x1 mentoring sessions must occur between 1/28/2019 and 2/15/2019, after you've completed the coursework, but before too much time has passed. The will be most useful this way.

thoughtful notes will be shared with you via mail following our dialogue; use them to further develop your secret project.

Instructor: Holly Wren Spaulding

Add To Cart


Q: When will I receive my lessons? 
A: In your inbox each Friday. The first one goes out at 5pm Eastern Standard Time, and all those that follow will be sent in the morning, at 5:00 am EST, so that you can take them with you into your weekend. Be sure that when you check-out, you use the email address where you wish to receive your lessons.

Q: Does this course require the use of an online platform? 
A: No, this is an email-based course, and includes downloadable documents for you to print (PDFs), and audio files (MP4) for you to listen to on your own time. You will not need to learn a new platform or set up a profile. We will also meet as a group on Zoom, and talk 1x1 via the phone.

Q: Must I be a writer to participate? 
A: No. This course is open to anyone who desires a secret life and has an idea for a project they'd like to manifest in 2019. In past years, dancers, painters, writers, clergy, activists and modern contemplatives have joined this course.

Q. I've taken this course before; is it worth doing again? 
A. Yes. Each year I make adjustments and substitutions to the content so that it feels timely and relevant to our moment in culture and history. The questions and worksheets will prompt fresh responses and reflections each time you do them. The live workshop dimension—new in 2019—will also offer a fresh take. If you are called to enroll more than once, I believe it can be valuable to do so. Several people have done so since I launched A Secret Life in 2017.

Q: Can I pay by check? 
A: I can offer that option up to one week before the course begins. After that, I ask that you pay via credit card. Just send me an email and I will provide an invoice and save you a spot in the course.

Q: When do the mentoring sessions occur? 
A: We will schedule these in within the three weeks that follow the end of the course. They will be completed by February 15, 2019.

Q: Can my friend/buddy/lover participate? 
A: Of course. Please have them enroll independently. Course content is sent out with the understanding that it will not be forwarded, copied, or otherwise distributed without my permission. Thanks for your understanding.