In this workshop, students will explore strategies for generating new poems and revising older work, always with the intent of surprising themselves. Drawing primarily from the Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean surrealist and magical realist canons, students will be encouraged to break free of their usual processes and practices in order to write the poems they never knew they wanted to write.
In this introductory workshop, students will learn the tools to help build a poem: language, line breaks, music, sound, silence, shape, structure, image and even a little mystery. They will also read wonderful poems by other writers, their choice and the instructor’s, and maybe do an exercise or two.
Estha Weiner is author of The Mistress Manuscript, Transfiguration Begins At Home, and the forthcoming In The Weather of The World. She teaches at City College.
Generating new work and revising it might be thought of as the in-breath and out-breath of poetry. And the gathering of poets—of all levels—supporting and challenging one another, is the workshop community in which poems can respire. In this workshop, students are encouraged to work on unfinished poems with writing exercises provided. Group critiquing will address the precision of language, rhythm, and form. The ease of writing poetry (like a series of breaths) will be cultivated.
New poets spend a long time developing a basic sense of mastery. Eventually, they have 10 or 20 or 30 poems they are proud of. What next? For many poets, the answer is: Putting together a chapbook or book-length manuscript. After spending so much time crafting individual poems, it can be difficult to see the big picture. In this workshop, students will explore the manuscript process: grouping, organizing, pruning and adding to their book or chapbook. Students will spend class time reading and discussing their manuscripts, focusing on how the individual poems cohere as a satisfying whole.
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, author of What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World, engages in conversation with the internationally-acclaimed scientist, entomologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson, author of The Social Conquest of Earth, about the intersections between science and poetry. These two extraordinary thinkers and writers — together for an unmissable conversation — discuss poetry, consciousness, evolution and the environment.
Renowned scholar and critic Marjorie Perloff discusses American composer and music theorist John Cage.
Exploring his poetic texts, Perloff looks at his role as a central precursor of Conceptualist poetics. In such works as “Writing through Howl,” and the critical biographical “essays” on Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Arnold Schoenberg—essays largely constructed from the words of the artists (and composer) themselves—Cage invented a new form of poem-critique that looked ahead to our own moment.
Jean Valentine, co-translator of Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, and poet and editor Christian Wiman, translator of Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam, discuss the lives of these two pillars of 20th-century Russian poetry and read their work.
Poet Ilya Kaminsky, co-translator of Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, is unable to attend this program as previously advertised.
RESCHEDULED from Thursday November 1st due to Superstorm Sandy
The rivers-and-mountains tradition in Chinese poetry is among the earliest and most extensive literary engagements with wilderness in human history and is a system of deep ecological thought, which feels remarkably contemporary. David Hinton has been translating this poetry for decades, and his many books have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary poems that convey the texture and density of the originals.
Poet L. S. Asekoff, co-recipient of the Library of Congress’s 15th annual Witter Bynner Fellowship in poetry, reads from his work. A moderated conversation with former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine (who selected Asekoff for the fellowship) will follow the reading.
Kitsch is a way of describing certain kinds of seemingly trivial, yet treasured, objects in material culture, and poetry has a crucial role in its history. Our panel of poets and theorists will sample poetic forgery, melodrama, pet epitaphs, queer idylls and fortune cookies as part of this history. The panelists will take up the question of whether poetic kitsch is still the antithesis of the avant-garde—or the leading edge of artistic experiment.