Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Somerville’s Julie Ann Otis: A Poet Who Feeds the Mind, Body and Spirit.

Somerville’s Julie Ann Otis: A Poet Who Feeds the Mind, Body and Spirit.

By Doug Holder

Julie Ann Otis

There is something to be said about my unofficial office in the back of the Bloc 11 Café in Union Square in Somerville. There is a nice brick wall where I can rest my glasses, books and papers, and a fireplace rests on top of the brick, a perfect pick for a winter’s day. My space also provides a sense of intimacy where I can probe the minds of my subjects for my column in The Somerville Times. My subject in this week’s column is Julie Ann Otis, a poet, a writer, a personal coach, a motivational speaker, to name just a few roles she plays.

Otis has lived in Somerville since 1996, and is originally from Omaha, Nebraska. She told me, “I love Somerville. It has the second highest number of artists per capita in the country. Only New York City beats it. I love the vibe here.”

Otis is currently running a workshop for the Art and Business Council for Greater Boston, titled: “Artistic Dharma.” According to Otis this workshop deals with,”…the active receptivity and letting go of undue effort that leads a person to be a vehicle for great art to be made. Otis, a graduate of Tufts University and Boston University, said the workshop consists of discussion, creative exercises, meditation, with the aim to find one’s creative self. Otis is well-versed in Buddhist philosophy, and uses this in her teachings. According to Otis, “I explore aspects of our thinking that prevents us from expressing ourselves. Things like pushing yourself to hard, believing more is better, or there is never enough, etc…

Otis is also an experienced life coach. She has studied with masters in  Indonesia, the United States, and elsewhere. Her practice provides a living, and feeds her own creativity.

In 2011 Otis had a major life change, she told me, “My poetry floodgates opened. I felt poetry was coming through me—I was a medium for something. My poems are contemplative and earnest, and I use my heart and my body to write them.” Otis has studied at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing and the Noepe Center for Creative Writing on the Vineyard as well. She has an artistic residency coming up at the Art Farm in Marquette, Nebraska, where she will live and create with multi-disciplinary artists.

Earlier in 2015 she presented an exhibit in Union Square titled “Free Verse” that involved vintage typewriters, live-time poetry performances, community creative writing, and a public art installation.

Like many members of our artistic community, Otis has her hands in many pots and is actively creating—here—in the Paris of New England.

For more info go to http://www.julieannotis.com 

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