Join me in Iowa City at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival where I’ll be teaching:
Walking in the Field of Words: Using the Natural Landscape in Poems
Saturday, July 16 through Sunday, July 17, 2016
Barry Lopez claims that landscape is a “shaping force” and that our physical experience of the landscape is integral to the meaning of the landscape itself. Landscape, then, is internal as well as external, and there is an intimate relationship between the physical and emotional terrains. In this workshop, we will look at how modern European and American poets have used nature and the landscape, looking at a variety of poems by poets such as James Wright, Caitlin Cowan, Paul Celan, Pattiann Rogers, Elizabeth Bishop, Ken Smith, Wilfred Owen, Andrew Hudgins, Ted Hughes, Andrew Feld, Henry Reed, Lewis Hyde, Leslie Norris and Gillian Clarke. Most of these poets are not what one would call traditional “nature poets,” and they have been chosen specifically because of this fact: they illustrate how many (if not all) poets use the natural world as a way to reveal and complicate larger human, ethical and spiritual concerns. Through focused, in-class writing prompts, you will generate your own lyric and/or narrative poems that use nature and the natural world to carry and embody the poem’s concern/s. We will workshop these new poems as well as “nature” poems you bring from home. Poets at all levels and work at all stages welcome!