Date Track Session/Presenter/Description Location Time

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Poetry

Basic and Bold—The Uses of Contemporary Poetry–a Poetry Workshop

This Workshop is designed to engage participants with contemporary poets and the different strategies to generate new work.  While the focus is on African American poets, a range of poets will be under review.

The Workshop will be in two parts:

#1.  Participants will look at poems in the packet and discuss the work of those poets with whom they are unfamiliar.

#2.  We will use vocabulary from two or three of the poems to generate new work.

We will use two or three poems as catalyst for new works. Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Gregory Pardlo, Ada Limón, Lorenzo Thomas, Angela Jackson, Marilyn Chin, Maureen Owen, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Renato Rosaldo, Brenda Hillman, Latasha N. Diggs, Peter Covino, Joy Harjo, Major Jackson, and Charif Shanahan may be part of the packet.

 Participants must be prepared to read and write, write and write.

At the end of this workshop, it is my hope that participants will have created poems that they feel good about and have learned about.

TBD 10:10am to 11:10am

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Poetry

We are the Future: A Poetry Workshop Using Walt Whitman’s “Democratic Vistas”

In “Democratic Vistas” Whitman presents his ideas on Democracy, Culture and the “vistas” he proposes for a nation that has just concluded  the “Secession War” as he calls it.  The essay was published in 1870 just as Andrew Johnson was being removed from office; Reconstruction was taking place; and immigration was expanding.  In the paper, Whitman does what he always does, use words in illuminating or obscuring ways.  He often uses antique locutions, “Ye” for instance.  But the words offer poets stepping stones to new poems. 

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Poetry

Making Poetry Out of Everyday Life (Introductory Level)

As poets we often delude ourselves into thinking that we must reach for the big theme. Yet the best poets often find their themes in the objects that surround them daily. This workshop will focus on finding the poetic essence of daily life. We will read a couple of poems by master poets and work on a couple of exercises.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Writing Poetry

How to Make Metaphors

“You draw your metaphors from whatever parts of the world you know,” Jane Hirshfield writes. In this way, metaphors are a product of proximity; we make use of what’s within our reach. But distance plays into metaphor in other ways, too. When comparing one thing with another, how far can the imagination stretch? How does the writer calibrate that distance correctly? Together, we’ll look at a range of examples from different writers to better understand how metaphors map onto the page. This will equip us to develop more effective and imaginative metaphors in our own work, the kind that grab editors’ attention.

TBD 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Poetry

Shaping the Surface to Find Depth (Advanced Level)

Poems demand clarity; poems also reach for depth. How can we shape the surface of the poem, where clarity lies, so that readers can see to the bottom, where truth is dormant? We will read poems by Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams that illuminate surface and depth and try some exercises inspired by them.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Poetry

A Circle of Associates: Writing Outward

This early-afternoon workshop, appropriate for both beginning and advanced poets, will focus on generating new work by participants. After examining various poems as models (by authors including Yehuda Amichai, Thomas Lux, Lucille Clifton, and Li-Young Lee), participants will be guided to compose poems that begin with a specific object and move outwards in the composition, ideally leading to kinds of truths they didn’t know they knew. We will keep in mind Richard Hugo’s advice to poets to go from the “triggering subject” to the generated or discovered subject. At the end of the session, we will respond to as many of the resultant poems as time allows.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing Poetry

A Fresh Break for Your Writing: Viewing a Poem's Line Breaks as Possibilities, Not Endings

Examining poems written in the last 50 years, we will explore how line break choices can augment a poem’s tone and implications by emphasizing images, sounds, and silences. Each participant should bring an original poem (no longer than twenty lines) he/she has had trouble revising or seeing clearly—a poem that one feels has latent power that hasn’t yet been brought to the surface. Towards the end of the session, participants will have an opportunity to recast their “stuck” poems into works that have more energy via more invigorated line breaks.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm