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Departures: A Way to Start the Poem with Patricia Spears Jones
”Nor asked: Is there a violence sadder than the word island?” from Islandia by Maria Negroni, translated by Anne Twitty
“I can’t go out anymore./I shall sit on my ceiling./Would you wear my eyes?” from Cranial Guitar: Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman
These questions are points of departure, sites where a writer can begin his or her journey into poems with the hope that those poems may articulate odd and beautiful questions. In this workshop, we will focus on texts that are formally heterogeneous, aurally and visually experimental such as Negroni’s epic, Islandia, Kaufman’s Cranial Guitar, Lorenzo Thomas’ Dancing on Main Street and poets as diverse as Charles North, Tara Betts, Maureen Owen, Marilyn Chin, Sharon Dolin and Tyehimba Jess. We will explore the joys and challenges of working on formal, craft issues in new poems generated from in-class exercises and assignments as well as looking again at poems in some stage of revision.
Patricia Spears Jones’ books include Living in the Love Economy, Painkiller, and Femme du Monde. She teaches for CUNY.