Prartho Sereno



Prartho Sereno has devoted her life to exploring and nurturing the creative process. In the early 70s, her thesis on the topic was funded by the National Science Foundation, after which she explored art therapy with troubled youth, Hospice volunteers, Alzheimers and psychiatric patients. The major highlight in her explorations were the four years she spent in India studying meditation and observing its effects on her own creative work.


Prartho became a California Poet in the Schools in Marin in 1999 and was awarded a Radio Disney Super Teacher Award for that work in 2007. She is author of three prize-winning poetry collectionsElephant Raga (2015), Causing a Stir: The Secret Lives and Loves of Kitchen Utensils (2007) and Call from Paris (2007/14).


Naomi Shihab Nye called the poems in Prarthos Elephant Raga magnificent [they] reground us in our bodies, in the glistening syllables and scenes surrounding us. They retune us to a tender, more palpably luminous world we would prefer to inhabit.


Prartho is also founder, chief cook and bottle-wash of the ever-evolving "Poetic Pilgrimage: Poem-Making as Spiritual Practice" at the College of Marin. Other artistic excursions have included stints as watercolorist, counseling psychologist, vegetarian cook, meditation instructor at Cornell University, book and cover illustrator, and amateur songwriter. She has an MFA from Syracuse University and lives in San Anselmo with a sweet man who takes her rowing on the Bay.


Thank you!




The Project:


My interest is in inclusionparticularly of people who think that poetry isnt for them. And my main plan for winning them over is to bring poetry to life by mixing up media: inviting all kinds of Marin artists to respond to poemscreating musical and danced responses, performance and painted responses. To cross not only artistic divides, but the social ones of age and economics, learning and living styles, which poetry does by its very nature, of course.


I envision a project with the working title CALL & RESPONSE: A MEETING OF THE MUSES. It would involve both the generation of poems in various community settings, including but not limited to our schools, and responses to the poems by local artists of every media. For example, The Watercolor Society could respond in paint to poems created by 3rd graders. A response to poems written in a senior center might be created by a childrens dance school. Some poems from the incarcerated youth at juvenile hall might become the inspiration for an original composition played by a high school orchestra or ensemble. I would like to collaborate with various groups and their leaders and to eventually hold several of these colorful, multimedia Muse Meetings each year.


And Id like to keep the vision as fluid  and open to possibilities as a poem. Why not include a magician, who will create a magic show to illustrate poems made by middle schoolers? At my book launch last March, a master of the Japanese art of Ikebana responded with impromptu arrangements of found objects to my poems and those of student poets who also read their work.


The invitation is wide open to anyone reading this! Bring your ideas and lets have a party!