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Stretching Tension: Developing a Toolbox for Structuring Your Poem

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Oct 13, 2016 | 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Edith Wharton said, “My last line is latent in my first,” and this workshop will help students structure poems by creating an “initial problem” then moving through that problem, utilizing linear or nonlinear transitions. The goal is not to create a systematic “paint by numbers” poem but to understand how a poem creates and stretches tension by using inductive or deductive reasoning, by paratactical or hypotactictal linking of sentences in a stanza, by restarting when using a refrain, or by a combination of some or all of these techniques. We will use locality, language and image as grounding lenses and look at poems by Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, Lucille Clifton, Francisco Alarcon, Louise Glück, Tony Hoagland, Claudia Rankine, Natalie Diaz, Jamaal May, francine j harris, Tarfia Faizullah and others for examples of various poetic structures.

David Tomas Martinez’s debut collection of poetry, Hustle, was released in 2014 by Sarabande Books, winning the New England Book Festival’s prize in poetry, the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award, and honorable mention in the Antonio Cisneros Del Moral prize. He is the 2015 winner of the Verlaine Poetry Prize from Inprint. Martinez is a Pushcart Prize winner, CantoMundo fellow, and a recipient of the Stanley P. Young Fellowship from Broadleaf. A second collection, Post Traumatic Hood Disorder, is forthcoming from Sarabande Books. DTM teaches creative writing at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn.

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Admission $325 Location Conference Room Sponsored By Poets House


Oct 13, 2016
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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