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Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

teaching artist Rosemerry wahtola Trommer headshot

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer has been writing a poem every day since 2006—a practice that has changed everything about how she sees the world, how she interacts with others, how she responds to challenges and to beauty, and how she teaches poetry in schools. Her devotion to practice shines in the classroom. She focuses on creating a safe environment by beginning with low-risk activities that allow all students to feel as if they can contribute, perhaps sharing a single line to a group poem. She offers models, gives clear instruction for individual exploration, then invites variation. Her mantra: it doesn’t have to be good, it has to be true. By helping students focus on “the next true thing,” instead of trying to write a masterpieces, she helps writing feel more possible, more relevant, more fun. The creative practice of staying open and showing up has allowed her to meet the death of her son and father, and she is passionate about teaching others the skills to be curious, vulnerable, and honest with the self—and to find humor and story that help us make meaning of traumatic and difficult events.

Rosemerry co-hosts Emerging Form podcast on creative process. Her poetry has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, PBS News Hour, O Magazine, American Life in Poetry, and Carnegie Hall stage. Hush won the Halcyon Prize. Naked for Tea was a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award. One-word mantra: Adjust.

Poem by Rosemerry Wahtola 'Watching My Friend Pretend Her Heart Isn't Breaking." Watching My Friend Pretend Her Heart Isn’t Breaking

On Earth, just a teaspoon of neutron star
would weigh six billion tons. Six billion tons
equals the collective weight of every animal
on earth. Including the insects. Times three.
Six billion tons sounds impossible
until I consider how it is to swallow grief—
just a teaspoon and one might as well have consumed
a neutron star. How dense it is,
how it carries inside it the memory of collapse.
How difficult it is to move then.
How impossible to believe that anything
could lift that weight.
There are many reasons to treat each other
with great tenderness. One is
the sheer miracle that we are here together
on a planet surrounded by dying stars.
One is that we cannot see what
anyone else has swallowed.