Since she began publishing her tight lyrics of Chicago’s great South Side in the 1940s, Gwendolyn Brooks has been one of the most influential American poets of the twentieth century. Her poems distill the very best aspects of Modernist style with the sounds and shapes of various African-American forms and idioms. Brooks is a consummate portraitist who found worlds in the community she wrote out of, and her innovations as a sonneteer remain an inspiration to more than one generation of poets who have come after her.
David Meltzer offers an insider's view of the Beat communities of Los Angeles and San Francisco in the late 1950s with vivid accounts of his friendships with Diane DiPrima, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure and others.
Poets often struggle with the issue of how much of the self to reveal in a poem. This workshop is an opportunity to explore different modes of self-revelation and restraint and to discover ways of combining self-expression with poetic discipline.
Matsuo Bashō, wandering the back-country fields, mountains, and cities of 17th-century Japan and of his own life, distilled the immensities of human experience into single images of striking depth and feeling. Bashō offered the seventeen-syllable haiku as an evocative and democratic form for capturing the realizations of ordinary existence. His brief poems—sometimes sorrowful, sometimes humorous, always acutely perceptive—revolutionized and transfigured not only the poetry of his own time but current American and world poetry as well.
The former US Poet Laureate explores the shared territory of two major 20th century poets, Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams, whose distinct voices are unified by a common interest in the American idiom and the construction of the American memory.
For fifty years, William Stafford wrote every morning before others were awake, welcoming whatever his imagination offered, and using this attitude as the basis of his poems. In a workshop led by poets Naomi Shihab Nye and Kim Stafford, we will look at William Stafford poems that exemplify this process and try on some of his writing techniques.