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Writing Poetry

Date
Session / Presenter
Location / Time
Jun 06
Sat - 2020
Form and Content: Another Look
Billy Collins
TBD
10:10am to 11:40am
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Presenter: Billy Collins

While the content of a poem, insofar as it has any, is an expression of the poem’s interest in the world—be it love, Nature, injustice etc—the form of the poem, whether apparent in rhyme, cadence, echoing imagery or other patterning, is the poem expressing an interest in itself.  This workshop will be largely devoted to making sure both of these interests are visibly at work in the poems we discuss.  Really good poems often manage to strike a near balance between the two, the poem looking inward and outward at once.

Jun 07
Sun - 2020
[Master Class Poetry – 90 minutes] Imagistic Endurance
Jenny Johnson
TBD
10:10am to 11:40am
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Presenter: Jenny Johnson

What is your relationship to looking? What are your strategies for conveying what you
see, picture, or imagine through language? How long do you hold the gaze in your work?
And what might happen if you held it longer, if you kept looking, if you chose not to look
away? We will turn to a range of models for tips on seeing—Robin Wall Kimmerer’s
sustained attention to moss in Gathering Moss, and poems by Kamilah Aisha Moon and
Tommye Blount. Of course, we will do some writing, too.

NOTE: Before class students will read a short essay by Robin Wall Kimmerer called, "Learning to See."

Jun 07
Sun - 2020
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Face-To-Face Course
Gregory Pardlo
TBD
1:10pm to 2:40pm
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Presenter: Gregory Pardlo

Find new uses for lines, images, and even whole poems you might otherwise throw away. Cliché is perhaps the only thing a poem cannot abide. Clichés are not just trite or overused phrases. They are the images, ideas, and narratives that make up the shared body of knowledge we call “common sense”. In the writing process, we poets often reach for clichés and common sense thinking in times of crisis or discomfort instead of boldly depicting the thing that likely inspired the poem in the first place. Language that is flat and unimaginative can signal, paradoxically, the very passages in a poem that are the most emotionally fraught. Rather than simply discarding them, we might consider ways to honor the original sentiments buried within that stale language. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies for getting at the useful emotionally raw material fossiled into such otherwise disposable language. We will dig through your printouts of failed poems, we will scroll through forgotten files on your laptop, and we will use this material to generate new work that is moving, surprising, and maybe even a little discomforting, but above all fresh.

Jun 07
Sun - 2020
Exploring the Unsayable Through Sound [Basic Poetry]
Jenny Johnson
TBD
2:50pm to 3:50pm
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Presenter: Jenny Johnson

Writing poems that are sound-driven can allow us a way into writing about that which feels hard
to say or express. In this class, we will consider how sound effects meaning, considering what
Robert Pinsky calls a poem’s “audible web.” We will turn to poems by Ross Gay and Jennifer
Chang as models. Then, we will do a writing exercise where you will have a chance to
experiment with sound, letting it be your guide as you explore a subject matter that you’re
struggling to tackle.