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The Whole Poem: Unlocking the Full Potential of a Poem's Content and Form with Neil Shepard

From first draft to final draft, strategies are required for seeing the whole poem, both its full potential for content and its most satisfying form. Required, as Charles Olson said, is the intense perception of the first draft – to “see” not only the spark but all of the light that makes a poem glow. Then we need to “re-see” the poem, practicing the kind of deep revision that leads us to reconsider everything from word choice and vivid image to metaphoric subtext, grammatical pattern, and inner music of the poem.

An Equal Music: Writing Poems from a Musical Influence with Jay Deshpande

Poets are frequently influenced by a favorite musician or song. Sometimes it’s Bob Dylan’s lyrics, the aesthetics of the blues, or the emotional sweep of Mahler that we want to carry to the page. But how do we make use of the music we love if we don’t write about it and we don’t try to mimic it? In effect, the music-inspired poem is the most challenging form of ekphrasis, because the author must be extra vigilant to form her own language rather than to mimic that of the song.

Experimenting with Lyric Poetry with Megan Fernandes

What does it mean to experiment? To play? To leap into uncertainty? To subvert a sense of form, structure, tone? In what ways can writers experiment with alternative modes of desire, grief, humiliation, or wonder? To experiment is a human and artistic instinct, a curiosity to play in the space of some unknown.

Visions and Visionary Poetics with Julian Talamantez Brolaski

This class will explore the practice of visionary writing. ‘Vision’ is easily subject to metaphorization— ‘I see’ for ‘I understand,’ ‘vision’ for aspiration or future goal—but here the class will explore the concept quite literally. Participants will read the works of prophet-seers: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, William Blake, Black Elk, Hannah Weiner, and others, writers who have had dream visions, spiritual visions, drug-induced or psychotic visions.

Finding the Art in the Line with Elaine Sexton

Poems are structures: the way words appear on the page—the use of white space, typography, order, disorder. We step into a poem as we would a new building we admire: curious, but from the outside. That the origin of the word stanza is from the Italian for room makes sense. What draws us into the delicate, vivid, and sometimes disturbing rooms of a memorable poem? Each week we search for the answers, finding them in the scaffolding of the poem, identifying the visual and sonic devices that contribute to its space including the use of erasures and other forms of ellipsis.

Master Class with Nick Flynn

Saturday June 3, 2:00-6:00pm
Sunday June 4, 12:00-4:00pm

Nick Flynn is the author of four books of poetry, My Feelings, The Captain Asks For a Show of Hands, Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and Blind Huber. His memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City was made into a film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro as Flynn’s father, Julianne Moore, and Paul Dano.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 15, 2017

Master Class with Catherine Barnett

Saturday May 13, 2:00-6:00pm
Sunday May 14, 12:00-4:00pm

Catherine Barnett is the author of Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced, winner of the 2003 Beatrice Hawley Award. Her most recent collection, The Game of Boxes, received the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her other honors include a Whiting Writer’s Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches at New York University.

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Sound Sense & Sway: Master Class with Kazim Ali

Saturday April 22, 2:00-6:00pm
Sunday April 23, 12:00-4:00pm

Kazim Ali’s books of poetry include Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, and The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award. He is a contributing editor for AWP Writers Chronicle and associate editor of FIELD. Ali teaches at Oberlin College.

Application Deadline: Monday, April 3, 2017

Click here to apply now via Submittable:

Short Talks on Large Legacies in Black History

In celebration of Black History Month, Timothy Donnelly, Margo Jefferson, and Mónica de la Torre present short talks on poetic giants of the past and how the legacy of African-American poetry continues to shape their own craft. Join us as we pay homage to black writers and artists who have helped shape contemporary poetry and take one last look at our exhibition American Stanzas: 2006-2016 by poet, photographer, and visual artist Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Passwords: Brad Gooch on Rumi

Poet, novelist, and biographer Brad Gooch discusses the life and work of Persian poet and Sufi mystic Rumi. Author of the new biography Rumi’s Secret, Gooch unearths the mystery behind the legendary poet and his devotion to a “religion of love.” Gooch will read Rumi’s poems, along with his co-translator Maryam Mortaz. Join Gooch and Mortaz as they decode the life of one of the most enigmatic poets of the last eight centuries.

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