Three day Workshops and Critical Seminars

All three day Workshops and Critical Seminars are scheduled from 1 - 3 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Attendees will select one.

Light Verse and Parody with Melissa Balmain, Pat Myers, and Frank Osen
What makes some poems and parodies funnier than others? Are the standards of craftsmanship different for light verse? Can contests help you get better at writing it? What the heckis“light verse,” anyway? We’ll seek answers to these questions and more, with help from poets living, dead, and (in the case of parodies) sometimes both. Topics to be explored include humor-friendly forms, rhyme and meter, subject matter, line and syntax, and types of poems that light-verse editors don’t care if they ever see again.

If the Form Fits … with Sarah Cortez
In the journey towards a finished poem, poets consider many options.  If form attracts, then which form becomes the question.  In this workshop, we will examine the riches of forms while focusing our attention to become further attuned to the nuances of subtext, mood and tone that are intrinsic to each form.  Expect to sharpen your understanding of when and why to use the forms we’ll examine in depth: the pantoum, the sonnet, the villanelle, and the sestina.

The Contemporary Sonnet with Dick Davis --This workshop is full.
The sonnet has been one of the most enduring forms of poetry in English, as well as in other European languages. From its origins as a renaissance Italian love poem, one that was both reverent and passionate, it has adapted itself to a multitude of subjects and voices, though almost always retaining something of the idealizing tone – if only to turn against this - with which it began. We shall also see how the customary “volta” or break in the poem’s apparent direction, usually though not always occurring after line eight, has meant that the form has attracted particular kinds of subject matter, and ways of presenting this subject matter. And of course we shall write our own sonnets.

Poetic Narrative with Mark Jarman -- This workshop is full.
We will talk about the role of narrative or storytelling in lyric poetry.  There will be workshop discussion and also recommendations for writing and reading.

Master Class with Shirley Geok-lin Lim
This workshop is reserved for poets who have published a full length collection.

The Iambic Line with William Logan
Oh, heck. I assume that, knowing the basics, you've written a few poems in iambic pentameter. Each session, we'll discuss a poem or two by a past master of the art as well as poems by members of the class. To that end, send me half-a-dozen of your pieces in pentamenter (fewer if you have no more than a few). Where meter goes astray, we'll discuss the rules or understandings it violates, and the pluses and minuses of such violation. I recommend the following books: James McAuley, Versification [Warning: McAuley does not believe in the spondee]; Timothy Steele, All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing; Robert B. Shaw, Blank Verse; George T. Wright, Shakespeare's Metrical Art; and Hearing the Measure, Shakespearean and Other Inflections; Harvey Gross, Sound and Form in Modern Poetry and The Structure of Verse.

Rhyme and Reason with John Whitworth
Since my early twenties I have been writing poems, there must be seven or eight hundred by now. All of them rhyme and scan, not because I think other forms of poetry worthless, but because I can write no other way. I am offering a workshop for those who want to write that way and those who already do. I will attempt to share what skills I have and perhaps learn some things I do not now know from the participants. Participants will write some poems but I am sure they will be happy to do that.

Casting Calls: A Workshop on Character with Caki Wilkinson
This workshop will explore various formations of character in poetry (personae, epic and mock-epic heroes, alter egos, etc.) and some of the ways writers might use dramatic elements to jumpstart a poem or open up new possibilities for revision. In addition to participants’ poems, we’ll look at examples ranging from the speaking city in the book of Lamentations to Gwendolyn Brooks’s Bronzevillians and Weldon Kees’s Robinson.

Critical Seminar:
The Documentary Method: History Poems, Found Poems, Centos, Ekphrastic Poems, and the Dramatic Monologue with Tony Barnstone -- This seminar is full.
In this seminar we will explore the use of the documentary method of creating poems, a technique that Marjorie Perloff has called (tongue in cheek) “uncreative writing.” We will read a wide variety of 20th and 21st century poets who use translation, transformation and adaptation techniques in poetry writing, working with found texts, manipulating other texts through experimental methods, and/or constructing poems based on historical research (working from oral histories, diaries, letters, interviews, trial transcripts, and so on). Also, we will explore the practice of the dramatic monologue by classic and contemporary poets, with hopes of putting these two techniques together. Readings include:blackout poetry (Austin Kleon); centos (Maryann Corbett, Catherine Chandler, Debra San and R.S. Gwynn); ekphrastic poetry (Kim Addonizio, Sharon Olds, William Carlos Williams, W.H. Auden); headline poetry (Julius Lester, Howard Nemerov); dramatic monologue (Robert Hayden, Ai, Tom Waits); found poetry (William Carlos Williams, Kenneth Goldsmith, Hart Seely, H.L. Hix, Charles Reznikoff, Kwame Dawes, Patricia Smith, Geoffrey Brock, Amin Esmailpour); and essays on the documentary method (Marjorie Perloff, Kenneth Goldsmith, Bill Nichols, Pepita Ferrari, and Martin Earl). Though this is a critical seminar, students will be provided with a slate of writing prompts based on the readings.

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