THE ART OF RE-VISIONING MEMORY
Katabasis from the Greek means a “trip to the underworld”, to the land of the lost and the dead, so that one may come back with knowledge that informs how to conduct life on the earth among the living. Using that metaphor, the primary focus of the Intensive Weekend Poetry Workshop will be to read, survey, and generate original poems involving some kind of memory, as a way to access past events and as a way re-visioning and re-imagining that moment within the framework of a narrative poem. We’ll start the first hour of the class by reading samples of 3-4 poems which do something similar, as a way of talking about narrative and rhetorical strategies they use to achieve that. These poems will range from American poets Larry Levis and Li-Young Lee to Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. After warming up a little with their words, we’ll try to find entry points into a specific memory of our own through simple line prompts. This workshop will focus on a narrative radiating outward, embracing digressions and associations on the way, as way of landing or arriving at something, a moment of epiphany, a circling back to the self, or a small discovery about the past that may not necessarily feel like a closure. The point is to graph out a way of thinking about a past event on the page and the vacillations inherent in such a movement. The poem will be workshopped on the 2nd day. In addition, everyone will be asked to bring two poems they feel are most complete and indicative of their current work with the goal of getting them workshopped.