Reframing the Text: A Documentary Poetry Workshop
The documentary poem is one that relies upon source texts—interviews, court testimonies, historical records, etc.— as the (often) driving force for the poem. These poems tend to be rooted in themes of social justice, but not always. As with lyric poetry, documentary poetry works in various modes with some poems relying heavily on the form and style of a source text—as is found in the work of Solmaz Sharif and Layli Long Soldier— and others much less so. In this workshop, we will begin our exploration of the documentary poem by looking at its close relatives—the poem of witness and the investigative poem. We will then craft our own documentary poems using the poetry of Muriel Rukeyser, Martha Collins, Nick Flynn, and Layli Long Soldier, among others, as models. Part of one class will be devoted exploring the Menil Campus on a Wednesday evening.