“Poems are never finished, merely abandoned,” wrote Paul Valéry. How do we take those abandoned drafts, our stuck poems, and re-enter them with fresh verve? Each session we discuss procedures and strategies for revising our poems, do short in-class revision exercises, discuss some published works, before turning to workshop as a group student poems. This class is an invitation to play and radically re-visit poems-in-progress.
How many languages/tongues do you speak? How many landscapes does your body navigate? How deeply do you listen? Does everything have to be completely understood? Through a series of writing exercises, a bit of translation/mistranslation and the use of Butch Morris’ Conduction Theory, we’ll explore the possibilities of writing and performance while not seeking to become performance poets. During this six weeks, we will look at excerpts from A Manifesto for Discomfortable Writing and A Manifesto for Ultratranslation.
Our culture encourages us to only talk about the big questions through an examination of the everyday and the specific. But sometimes we want to speak directly to the things that stupefy and excite us and to address the big questions. In the last century, humanity has undergone huge transformations in science and technology and we have not yet metabolized all this in our written culture. In addition to beginning such writing, we’ll read poetry and essays that are overtly about big ideas, like meaning, time, death, chance, suffering, and the external reality of the world.
In this workshop we’ll develop multiple ways of gathering material through writing and experimenting with journaling, researching and taking notes. We’ll explore walking/writing meditation, layered journaling, collaging from news and other resources, and more. Readings will be from Matsuo Basho, Harry Mathews, Jack Kerouac, Harryette Mullen, William Carlos Williams, Helene Cixous, Bernadette Mayer and Ed Sanders, among others. Students will leave the class with a collection of five poems or short prose pieces.
Join us for the opening of this exhibition, drawn from the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University, featuring holiday cards, valentines, birthday greetings, rare booklets, and more from some of the last century’s most beloved poets, including Langston Hughes, Alice Notley, Ted Berrigan, Seamus Heaney, and Sylvia Plath.
Always be a poet, even in prose.– Charles Baudelaire
For the Fall 2014 season, Poets House invites you to explore poetry’s complex relationship with fiction, memoir, essay, theater, science and more through talks, seminars, and workshops presented by leading cross-genre writers. From page to paint to stage, trace a poet’s ability to infuse, implore, recall, and awaken new possibilities in language across the arts and beyond.
The prose poem derives energy from the collision of opposites: realism and fantasy; poem and novel. Poet and essayist Natasha Sajé, author most recently, of Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory, and faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts, discusses the makeup of this hybrid form.