Please note that this is an online workshop conducted via Zoom. Participants will be provided information on how to join the online sessions.
Writing Our Truth: Memory, History, and Lyric Form
In her book Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World, Jane Hirschfield writes, “Good art is a truing of vision, in the way a saw is trued in the saw shop, to cut more cleanly. It is also a changing of vision.” Literary texts offer the opportunity for such “truing,” acute seeing, in terms of both personal and social transformation. In this 6-week workshop, we will consider the tumult of contemporary experience in the U.S. by exploring memory (our interior lives) and history (the intersection of the personal with one’s historical moment) as these inform a writer’s vision. We will read selected poems that use writerly strategies engaging personal memory and simultaneously locating those personal experiences in history. In particular, we will consider notions of home, exile, refuge; social injustice and resistance; and global pandemic, as these phenomena have shaped and continue to impact our daily lives. We’ll then shift to a discussion of lyric form and hybridity—the use of verse, story, reportage, song, visual image, typography, as elements of poetic collage and artistic response. Through in-class writing exercises and discussion, we will begin to shape our own literary projects as mosaics evocative of the postmodern era in which we live and write. This workshop is recommended for first time poets as well as those that have been writing for some time.
Poems for discussion will be selected from the following collections:
- Mai Der Vang, Afterland (Graywolf Press, 2017)
- Carolyn Forché, In the Lateness of the World (Penguin Press, 2020)
- Joy Harjo, American Sunrise (Norton, 2019)
- Tyehimba Jess, Olio (Wave Books, 2016 – 2017 Pulitzer Prize)
- Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019)
- Solmaz Sharif, Look (Graywolf Press, 2016)
- ire’ne lara silva, Cuicacalli/House of Song (Saddle Road Press, 2019)