At the Loft: Fall 2019

Master Class.  The Beautiful Exchange: Advanced Poetry Workshop

9/18/19 – 12/11/19, Wednesdays, 6 p.m.—9 p.m.

“The reader,” claimed Whitman, “will always have his or her part to do, just as much as I have mine.” But what is the part, or role, of the poet as reader? As writers, what can we learn from reading poems and discovering what Edward Hirsch calls “the soul in action.” How can we take what we find there and use it to inform and deepen our own writing?  In looking closely at a poem we begin to see how its technical accomplishments help create our responses to it: to learn about the nature of poetry, then, we must go to the poem.

This advanced workshop is designed for those with a writing practice and a knowledge of poetic craft. Through weekly workshops, discussions (using The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration by Edward Hirsch), and an in-depth look at one poem a week by a master poet, we will explore the relationships between creativity, technique, and the genesis our own poems, exploring how the larger issues/concerns of our creative lives emerge/manifest through craft as well as subject. Take-home prompts/assignments will ensure you are engaging with new material.

Aspects of Poetic Craft: Generating New Work

10/5/19 and 10/12/19, Saturdays  10 a.m.–4 p.m.

On-the-spot writing prompts, especially those using other poems as springboards, often enable us to break through blocks and open up new paths of imaginative thought. This double-session class provides the prompts, the structure of a predetermined time and place to write, and a community of writers with whom you can share work and discuss your insights into poetic process.

Each day will involve embarking on two writing journeys to generate new material: one using poems by master poets (which we will discuss in detail in class) and one using a more open-ended approach. The idea is not to necessarily finish a poem, but to generate material without the crushing pressure of “completion,” following lines of thought, tangents and side paths, and entering the playful, surprising and exciting generative phase of poetic creation.

Each day, using poems by master poets, we will also explore one aspect of craft: the music of the line, the figurative image, voice and point of view, effective transitions, and how to “hear” what is really at the heart of the writing and so begin to revise and consciously direct your work towards a completed poem. No experience necessary.