An Afternoon with John Fox

Rob and I were privileged to spend an afternoon of Poetic Medicine with John Fox. The event took place at Decatur Healing Arts. But before that, we had a lovely meal at Cafe Lily, which is where the photo was taken.

John has a unique way of working. He gives a presentation (Rob helped him with the slides) and then offers space for the participants to write their own poetry. John says that is his favorite part of the workshop. He loves to watch everyone at work, plus he writes one as well. Most of us dared to stand and read our poems. John’s quiet attentive presence creates a safe place for us to do this.

Afterwards, several of us went to a chocolate shop for coffee or hot chocolate. As I sat there sipping a fancy concoction and eating a peanut butter cookie, I thought, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” I didn’t even turn on the Super Bowl.

On the ride to the chocolate shop, John asked me some questions about my teacher, Vernon Howard I told him little was known about Vernon. He didn’t talk about himself. And he followed the principles of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and Maurice Nicoll. They taught the Fourth Way. I was drawn to this, I told John, because coming from a southern family, everyone was nice on the surface, but underneath was a different story. I was ready for a tough teacher.

Now I’m back at the keyboard, grateful that there are people in the world like John Fox. He works with cancer patients, prisoners, children, the list goes on and on. He gives people a chance to be heard in a safe creative environment. I cherish the time spent with him over the years.

Vicki Woodyard

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