Poetry is central to Arabic cultural expression. Contemporary Arabic poetry reflects the whirl of events sweeping across the Middle East -- mourning tragedy, criticizing societal expectations, and engaging fierce political discourse. Robyn Creswell, scholar of the poetry and intellectual history of the Middle East, and Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail, recipient of the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing, discuss poetry as a way to understand contemporary Arab society.
In her only New York City event for two books newly published this year, Jane Hirshfield, one of the foremost poets of her generation and a master illuminator of poetic craft, will read from The Beauty (poems) and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (essays). This will be followed by a conversation with the audience about the ways poetic language, attention, and word-craft navigate and enlarge both personal and shared existence.
Earlier this year, Jerome Rothenberg’s Barbaric Vast & Wild: An Assemblage of Outside & Subterranean Poetry from Origins to Present was published as the twelfth and culminating volume in his formative series on ethnopoetics, begun nearly a half century ago with Technicians of the Sacred (1968). Join Rothenberg as he steps back to reconsider what holds these works together and what the future might be for this omnipoetics, theoretically moving toward a final, perhaps unobtainable, “anthology of everything.”
Myths of African, Asian, Greek, and Roman origin are embedded in World literature, not only as metaphor and moral, but as a measure of humanity’s intrinsic faults or heroism. This workshop will explore timeless myths as a means to discuss modern political, social and spiritual issues through poetry. Poets might consider the risk of flying too high or the folly of flying too low with Icarus. Poets might ask T’ao Ch’ien to lead the residents of Ferguson to the idyllic Peach Blossom Spring.
Are you fascinated by Monarch butterflies? Dark matter? Funiculars? Politics? Medieval art? How do you go about translating that passionate interest onto the page? In this workshop, we will explore how other poets have plumbed their passions—Maggie Nelson in Bluets, Sawako Nakayasu in The Ants, Takashi Hiraide in For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut, and Harryette Mullen in Sleeping with the Dictionary, to name a few—and will mine our own new or longstanding obsessions to write a series of connected poems.
Throughout the millennia, poets have been inspired by the visual arts as a way into reading the self and soul. This workshop will explore figurations of the soul through our numinous encounters with the visual. How can we create a dialogue with the visual arts that triggers an introspection of the self?
In this class, each writer will select a classic text to adapt and transform over the course of the six weeks, while engaging with poems based on precursor texts, and the precursors that provoked them. How can writing be a way of reading? How old is the ‘remix’? For inspiration, we’ll discuss Shakespeare rewrites by Jen Bervin, Harryette Mullen, and June Jordan, as well as Jack Spicer’s “Homage to Creeley,” Rod Smith’s “Homage to Homage to Creeley,” and Joshua Ware’s “Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley,” alongside many other literary sequels.
Saturday, December 5, Noon-4pm
Sunday, December 6 Noon-4pm
Application deadline: November 20
Terese Svoboda is the author of more than a dozen books. Her forthcoming titles include When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected & New Poems and Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet.