Three-Day Workshops/Seminars—Run Wed, Thur, and Fri pm. Cost $840 (Includes panels & evening readings, lunch & dinner)
Two-Day Workshops/Seminars—Run Thur/Fri pm. Cost $250
Tom Cable, Annie Finch, Natalie Gerber, Clare Rossini.
One-Day Workshops— Cost $125
—Rafael Campo, (Thur am); Allison Joseph, (Wed am); Molly Peacock, (Fri am); Penelope Pelizzon, (Fri pm); Marilyn Taylor. (Fri pm); Jon Tribble. (Thur am)
Panels & Evening Readings, Lunch & Dinner Only—Cost $510
Limbs and Language
with Mahogany Browne
This workshop is designed to investigate how our memories inform our poetry. Focusing on imagery and new ways in which we look at the body as a landscape, our dreams as a blueprint and our yesterdays as an almanac. This generative writing workshop will consist of five components: analyzation, discussion, writing, editing & performance. This journey will bloom new writing in an effort to create an urgent dialogue with our limbs as language.
Mahogany Browne, a Cave Canem, Poets House & Serenbe Focus alum, is the author of several books including Redbone (nominated for NAACP Outstanding Literary Works), Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & About.com Best Poetry Books of 2010. Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada's The Word and UK's MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary, Joint & The Feminist Wire. She is the co-editor of forthcoming anthology The Break Beat Poets: Black Girl Magic and and chapbook collection Kissing Caskets (Yes Yes Books). She is an Urban Word NYC Artistic Director (as seen on HBO's Brave New Voices), founder of Women Writers of Color Reading Room, Director of BLM@Pratt Programming and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. Browne is also the publisher of Penmanship Books, the Nuyorican Poets Café Poetry Program Director and Friday Night Slam curator and recent graduate from Pratt Institute MFA Writing & Activism program.
with Dick Davis
The sonnet has been one of the most enduring forms of poetry in English, as well as in other European languages. From its origins as a renaissance Italian love poem, one that was both reverent and passionate, it has adapted itself to a multitude of subjects and voices, though almost always retaining something of the idealizing tone—if only to turn against this—with which it began. We shall also see how the customary "volta" or break in the poem's apparent direction, usually though not always occurring after line eight, has meant that the form has attracted particular kinds of subject matter, and ways of presenting this subject matter. And—if we wish to—we shall write our own sonnets.
Dick Davis was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1945, and educated at the universities of Cambridge (B.A. and M.A. in English Literature) and Manchester (PhD. in Medieval Persian Literature). He lived in Iran for 8 years (1970-1978), and also for some time in both Italy and Greece. He was Professor of Persian and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University from 2002 until 2012. He has written scholarly works on both English and Persian literature, as well as eight volumes of his own poetry; his publications include volumes of poetry and verse translation chosen as books of the year by The Sunday Times (UK) 1989; The Daily Telegraph (UK) 1989; The Economist (UK) 2002; The Washington Post 2010, and The Times Literary Supplement (UK) 2013. He has published numerous book-length verse translations from medieval Persian, most recently, Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz (2012). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Seminar with Anna M. Evans
Participants in this women-only seminar commit to the preparation of a rigorous 3000+ word scholarly essay on a woman poet for the Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, an online database currently containing 50+ such essays founded by Dr. Kim Bridgford.
Essays should be about one third biography and two thirds critical analysis, written using MLA format, and include 3-4 poems. Each essay should aim to provide a critical introduction to the poet written at a level suitable for undergraduate readers.
Anna M. Evans' poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and is the Editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of Fellowships from the MacDowell Artists' Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and winner of the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Readers' Choice Award, she currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Richard Stockton College of NJ. Her new sonnet collection, Sisters & Courtesans, is available from White Violet Press. Visit her online at annamevans.com.
The Principles of Free Verse
with Joshua Mehigan
"No verse is free," wrote T.S. Eliot, for the poet "who wants to do a good job." Seventy-five years later, though most English-language poems are written without meter or regular lines, a lot of contemporary poets seem satisfied to think of free verse as liberation from the oppressive rules of traditional technique. But free verse, too, has its own distinct and important technical traditions. We may wish to avoid creating new prescriptions to replace the old ones, but we can certainly describe and learn from the many innovative techniques used for centuries by free-verse poets as varied as Christopher Smart and Gary Soto, Eliot and Lucille Clifton. In this three-day workshop, we'll examine some important organizational principles that poets have used throughout the history of free verse: rhetorical, phrasal, sonic, metaphorical, typographical, and so on. Readings will include poems by Smart, Blake, James Henry, Whitman, Stein, Stevens, Pound, H.D., Williams, Cummings, Borges, Hughes, Bishop, Lowell, Brooks, Celan, O'Hara, Rich, Plath, Pelizzon, Stallings, Hayes, and others.
Bio: Joshua Mehigan's first book, The Optimist, was a finalist for the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second, Accepting the Disaster, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2014 and subsequently cited as a best book of the year in the TLS, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. His poems have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Poetry, which awarded him its 2013 Levinson Prize. He has has received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (2011) and the Guggenheim Foundation (2015).
Rhetoric for Poets
with Timothy Steele
In the first act of Goethe's Faust, the student assistant Wagner asks the great professor to teach him rhetoric, only to be told that the subject is worthless and that writers should simply speak from their hearts. Since the publication of the play in 1808, we poets have largely followed Faust's advice—and who can blame us? Faust has noble ambitions, and he appeals to our faith in self-expression and sincerity. However, he is also a man who, shortly after counseling poor Wagner, abandons learning for magic, enters into a pact with the Devil, and destroys Gretchen and her family. Further, Goethe himself believed that one of the most indispensable and delightful parts of the poet's education was rhetoric. Maybe we should give it a second chance.
Our workshop will discuss how we can improve our poems, and write different kinds of poems, by thinking of them in rhetorical terms—by thinking about them in terms of (1) invention, (2) arrangement, and (3) style. So far as the first matter involves, among other things, coming up with interesting material and figuring out a suitable form for it, we will consider such genres of poetry as the verse epistle, the erotic elegy, the ballad, the epigram, the satire, and the travel poem. So far as the second matter concerns building an argument or a narrative, we'll discuss organizational issues. (When is best to begin in medias res? When might it be to our advantage to move step by step from an exordium to a peroration? Should we proceed logically? By association?) So far as style is concerned, we will explore meter and figures of speech. More specifically, we will examine the ways in which we can produce, by working within boundaries of a meter, pleasing and significant rhythmical effects. And we will pay special attention to metaphor, mindful of Robert Frost's observation that every metaphor breaks down at some point and that one of the keys to writing lively verse is knowing how far to take a metaphor and recognizing when to stop.
We'll spend our first two workshop sessions discussing these topics and examining poems from the past and present that illuminate them. In our third session, we'll read and share our own poems with each other.
Since the early 1970s, Timothy Steele has written, discussed, and taught poetry, and in all three activities, he has contributed to renewing and sustaining interest in traditional poetic craft. His books of poems include Uncertainties and Rest, Sapphics Against Anger and Other Poems, The Color Wheel, and Toward the Winter Solstice. His literary criticism appears in Missing Measures and All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing. He has also edited The Poems of J. V. Cunningham.
Contemporary Rhythms from Medieval Meters
with Tom Cable
As early as the 19th century, poets have been tapping into Old and Middle English meters for rhythmic inspiration—either by taking a conscious look back, or simply by absorbing the rhythms second-hand—transforming the sounds of such poems as Coleridge's "Christabel," Hopkins' "The Windhover," Pound's "The Seafarer," Eliot's Four Quartets, W. H. Auden's The Age of Anxiety, Basil Bunting's Briggflatts, Richard Wilbur's "Junk," and Ange Mlinko's "Bayt." Now, however, a new understanding of the so-called "accentual" or "strong-stress" meters can provide contemporary poets with still more alternatives to the conventional.
The first half of this workshop will survey how it all works. The second half will explain how, had the medieval meters been correctly understood, the results might have been even better than they have been. With this new understanding, we'll see how those venerable meters can now serve as something of a treasure map, directing us toward a wider repertoire of rhythms for our own poems. Supplementary tutorials and comments on participants' work will continue for a few months beyond the conference.
Tom Cable is the author of books and essays on English prosody from Caedmon to the present, including The Meter and Melody of Beowulf and The English Alliterative Tradition, and co-author of A History of the English Language. He has been Director of the Creative Writing program in English at the University of Texas at Austin, and for many years has taught seminars on "Prosody" and "Similes and Other Rhetorical Figures in Modern Poetry" to poets at the Michener Center for Writers. He has received prizes for his teaching and scholarship.
Falling Meters: Rocking the Beat
with Annie Finch
This workshop will focus on falling meters, including dactyls, trochees, and sapphics. Though often neglected today even by formalist poets, falling meters offer poets some of the most eloquent and powerful rhythms in the English language. We will share and discuss poems in falling meters by Homer, Pushkin, Poe, Longfellow, W.H. Auden, Countee Cullen, and Gwendolyn Brooks and contemporaries including R.S. Gwynn, Tim Steele, and Marilyn Hacker. And we'll explore ways of adding texture and drama to falling meters using poems from the tradition and your own poems as examples. Along the way we'll discuss metrical diversity and the metrical code. And we'll circle back to the basic principles of scansion and accentual-syllabic prosody as needed, making this class accessible to metrical newcomers as well as to seasoned metrical poets looking to expand and deepen your poetics and your practice.
Annie Finch is the author of six books of poetry, including Eve, Calendars, Among the Goddesses, and Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2013). Her poetry has appeared in such anthologies as The Norton Anthology of World Poetry, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Her books on poetic form and craft include The Ghost of Meter, An Exaltation of Forms, The Body of Poetry, and A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry (all from University of Michigan Press). Annie's multimedia poetic collaborations and commissioned poems have been produced at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Educated at Yale University (B.A.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.), she has taught widely and served for a decade as Director of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing. She has received the Sarasvati Award for Poetry and the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award. More information on Annie's work is available at anniefinch.com.
A Revolution in Rhyme
with Natalie Gerber
This seminar on rhyme begins where the guidebooks leave off. Starting from Frost's recognition that a "rhyme word [is] to be regarded as the last syllable of a long word like ing or ly" and extending to Hamilton's brilliant use of phrasal rhymes, we'll explore a tendency in contemporary culture to forge rhymes that refashion our pronunciation of standard English stress patterns. Our interest lies in how rhyme is becoming more of a periodic component than a local sonic device.
Natalie Gerber is Associate Professor of English at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Her essays on free verse, meter, and linguistic and poetic rhythm appear in recent special issues of Style and Thinking Verse and are forthcoming in edited collections such as On Rhyme (Universitaires de Liège) and The History of the English Language: Pedagogical Practices for College and University Classrooms (Oxford UP, 2017). She serves on the boards of Poetry by the Sea, the Robert Frost Society, and the Wallace Stevens Society. She is also co-curating, with Eric Weiskott, a colloquy tentatively titled "Prosody: Histories" for Stanford University's Arcades project.
Poetry of Place
with Clare Rossini
"There never was an 'is" without a 'where,'" Lawrence Buell has said. Buell's words remind us that places we inhabit are central to our beings, our very is-ness. And they are equally crucial to our identifies as poets, consciously or unconsciously shaping our language and imagery, the stories our poems may tell, the horizons—literal and figurative—they open to.
Another quotation, this one from Wendell Berry: "To preserve our places and be at home in them, it is necessary to fill them with imagination." Agreed! But how to do so? How to make poems that describe or remember the places and spaces that are crucial to us, whether urban or rural, intimate as a room or garden, or grand as a mountain or plain? Equally important, how to speak of the ways we have been dis-placed—by the actual or potential loss of a beloved place, by knowing personally or feeling deeply the homelessness of the undocumented immigrant or refugee? Writing poems that begin to explore such questions is the goal of this workshop.
Before arriving, I will ask you to reflect on the place or places that are crucial to you, no matter how grand or intimate. I will also provide a short essay that describes the work being done by folks working in "place studies," an exciting new discipline that brings together artists and writers, anthropologists, geographers, psychologists, ecologists, and theologians to explore and document the role of place in culture. Most important, each of you will receive a packet of work by a wide range of poets who have written deeply of place: James Wright, Lorine Niedecker, Elizabeth Bishop, Tracy K. Smith, C.D. Wright, Yusef Komunyakaa, Wendell Berry, Theodore Roethke, and Ocean Vuong, among others. Once we meet, we'll get to work, responding to exercises that will help each of us give poetic shape to the places we hope to "fill…with imagination." Come ready to read, to write, and to share your work with one another in our workshop-by-the-sea.
Clare Rossini's third collection, Lingo, was published by University of Akron Press. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, The Ploughshares, and Poetry; in online publications such as Drunken Boat and Poetry Daily; as well as in textbooks and anthologies, including Wild Dreams Poetry Daily Essentials, Poets for a New Century, and the Best American Poetry series. Her poems have been featured on Connecticut Public Radio and the BBC. She has received fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Maxwell Shepherd Foundation, and the Bush Foundation. Rossini taught for many years in the Vermont College low-residency MFA Program. She currently serves as Artist-in-Residence in the English Department at Trinity College in Hartford, teaching creative writing courses and directing an arts outreach program which places college students in inner-city public school art classrooms.
Poetry & Healing
with Rafael Campo
The earliest of civilizations, from many Native American cultures to that of the ancient Greeks, recognized an inextricable interrelationship between poetry and healing; surely, the best poems we have today demand that we listen, and not just with our ears, but with our whole hearts. In this workshop, we'll examine the ways in which poems join us empathetically, through their sound and structure as much as through their insistent invitations to share our diverse human experiences. We'll ponder how poems can make effective use of the richly complex tensions between such linked notions as authorship/authority, confession/ confinement, hyperbole/humility, and identity/immunity. To best achieve our goals, we'll devote some time to reading together works by Thom Gunn, Marilyn Hacker, Maxine Kumin, Frank O'Hara, Anne Sexton, and William Carlos Williams.
Goals: 1) To explore and understand the link between creative self-expression and healing; 2) To define a "biocultural" narrative of the illness experience, in contrast to the restrictive biomedical narrative encountered in most health care settings; 3) To investigate the historical connections between language, art, and therapeusis; 4) To develop strategies for integrating humanistic work in the delivery of health care.
Rafael Campo, M.A., M.D., D. Litt., is a poet and essayist who teaches and practices internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is also on the faculty of Lesley University's Creative Writing MFA Program. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Poetry Series award, and a Lambda Literary Award for his poetry; his third collection of poetry, Diva (Duke University Press, 2000), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Enemy (DUP, 2007), won the Sheila Motton Book Award from the New England Poetry Club. His work has appeared in many periodicals including The Nation, The New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, Paris Review, Poetry, Salon.com, Slate.com, and the Washington Post Book World.
Creative Writing Pedagogy
with Allison Joseph
This workshop will focus on creative writing pedagogy--specifically the pedagogy of teaching several different forms of poetry to undergraduate writers. We will focus on the sonnet, the elegy, the ode, and the villanelle as forms particularly suited for the undergraduate poetry classroom. Student examples and classroom-proven exercises will be provided.
Allison Joseph lives, writes, and teaches in Carbondale, Illinois, where she is part of the creative writing faculty at Southern Illinois University. She serves as editor and poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review, moderator of the Creative Writers Opportunities List, and director of the Young Writers Workshop, a summer writers workshop for teen writers.
Her books and chapbooks include What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand Press), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh), Wordly Pleasures (Word Tech), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon UP), Voice: Poems (Mayapple Press), My Father's Kites (Steel Toe Books), Trace Particles (Backbone Press), Little Epiphanies (Imaginary Friend Press), Multitudes (forthcoming, Word Tech Communications), and The Purpose of Hands (forthcoming, Glass Lyre Press).
The Little Lyric
with Molly Peacock
The pungency of the brief remark is the subject of our workshop on the little lyric. We will be reading and writing little lyrics, deciphering the mysteries of small poems, then trying to make the power of the brief poem our own as we consider short works by Sappho, Basho, Hardy, Dickinson, Crapsey, Williams, Creeley, Szymborska, Ammons, Menashe, Neidecker and others. As we roam from the ancient to the contemporary, from Asia to Eastern Europe to North America, we will consider the forms of prosodic brevity from the triplet to the triolet, the haiku to the cinquain. This is a class for all levels and any experience with poetry.
Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized international poet and biographer. Published in leading literary journals in the United States, UK and Canada, she is the author of The Analyst, a collection of poems that tell the story of a decades-long patient-therapist relationship that reverses and continues to evolve after the analyst's stroke and reclamation of her life through painting. Peacock's other volumes of poetry include The Second Blush and Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems. Passionate about bringing poetry to a wider public, she helped create Poetry in Motion on New York City's subways and buses and inaugurated The Best Canadian Poetry series. Molly Peacock is also the author of the noted biography The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72, named a Book of the Year by The Economist, The Globe and Mail, Booklist, The London Evening Standard, The Irish Times, and The Sunday Telegraph. A fellow of the Danforth, Ingram Merrill, and Woodrow Wilson Foundations, as well as the Leon Levy Center for Biography, recipient of grants from both the NEA and the Canada Council, Peacock also wrote and performed "The Shimmering Verge," a one-woman theatre piece in poems. One of the subjects of the documentary A Life Outside Convention about women's choices not to have children, she is married to the James Joyce scholar Michael Groden. They are based in Toronto and New York.
The Genius of Metaphor
with V. Penelope Pelizzon
Aristotle famously stated in his Poetics that "the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor….it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances." How have poets in English since the 16th century entertained this genius? What kinds of perception does working purposefully with metaphor invite? And how can we employ metaphor's exuberance in our own poems? If, as Kenneth Burke argues, metaphor is a device by which we gain "perspective through incongruity," then working with metaphor can open us to the world's glorious strangeness; while metaphors seem to draw our attention to similarities, they often prompt a consideration of difference. In the first half of our time together, we'll read some poems that offer brilliant examples, and we'll talk about different ways that metaphor (along with its siblings simile, metonymy, and synecdoche) allows us to change the world by changing its figures. In the second half, we'll respond to some metaphor-oriented prompts, and participants will have a chance to share their work.
V. Penelope Pelizzon's second poetry collection, Whose Flesh Is Flame, Whose Bone Is Time, was published in 2014. Her first book, Nostos, won the Hollis Summers Prize and the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award. She is also the co-author of Tabloid, Inc: Crimes, Newspapers, Narratives, a study of the relations among American sensation journalism, photography, and film from 1927-1958. Pelizzon's awards include a 2012 Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship, the 2012 Center for Book Arts chapbook award, and a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship. She is an associate editor at Waywiser Press, a founding member of Counterproof Press, and an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut.
Playful Forms: Acrostics, Abcedarians, Lipograms and Golden Shovels
with Marilyn Taylor
Can't face writing one more poem about love, or politics, or rafting down the Wapsipinicon River? Maybe you're ripe for a little experimentation, some mental gymnastics, a bit of linguistic juggling. In other words, it might be time to have some fun with your creative process.
This workshop will provide you with a perfect opportunity to write in some playful forms, primarily by persuading your left brain to take part in the creative process. We will be exploring four time-tested poetic structures—the Acrostic, the Abecedarian, the Lipogram. and the newly-minted but practically foolproof Golden Shovel. Your results might very well surprise you, not only because they could well turn out to be unexpectedly publishable, but also because they've taken your own vocabulary—and your sensibilities—to poetic places they've likely never visited before. At the very least, they're virtually guaranteed to give your writing just the jolt you've been seeking.
Marilyn L. Taylor, former Poet Laureate of the state of Wisconsin (2009 and 2010) and the city of Milwaukee (2004 and 2005), is the author of six poetry collections. Her award-winning poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, American Scholar, Measure, Able Muse, Poemeleon, Light, Ted Kooser's "American Life in Poetry" column, and in the Random House anthology titled Villanelles. She has also been awarded First Place in contests sponsored by The Atlanta Review, Passager, The Ledge, Dogwood, and the GSU Review. Marilyn taught poetry and poetics for fifteen years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and served for five years as a Contributing Editor for THE WRITER magazine, where her widely-read "Poet to Poet" column on the craft of poetry appeared bimonthly. She currently facilitates independent poetry workshops and presentations in communities throughout Wisconsin and elsewhere, and through the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Division of Continuing Studies and Lawrence University's Bjorklunden Seminar Center in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin.
More Than a Collection
with Jon Tribble
A discussion of the book-length poetry project and a review of some of the methods that contemporary poets have undertaken to unite a collection of poems through elements of character, form, personal and public history, theme, and subject. We will develop a theory of the relationship between different methods employed in constructing a book-length poetry project and will have each attendee create an outline of a book-length poetry project of their own.
We will touch on these books:
- Kim Addonizio. Jimmy & Rita
- Allison Joseph. My Father's Kites
- Ted Genoways. Anna, Washing: Poems
- Rita Dove. Thomas and Beulah
- Margaret Gibson. Memories of the Future: The Daybooks of Tina Modotti
- Julianna Baggott. Lizzie Borden in Love: Poems in Women's Voices
- Jesse Lee Kercheval. Cinema Muto
- Jake Adam York. A Murmuration of Starlings
Jon Tribble's first collection of poems, Natural State, was published by Glass Lyre Press in 2016. His second collection of poems, And There Is Many a Good Thing, will be published by Salmon Poetry in 2017. His poems have appeared in print journals and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Poetry, Crazyhorse, Quarterly West, and The Jazz Poetry Anthology, and online at The Account, Prime Number, and storySouth. He teaches at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he is the managing editor of Crab Orchard Review and the series editor of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry published by SIU Press.