Workshop Forming: Reading and Writing through Jack Spicer’s Collected Poetry

Reading and Writing through Jack Spicer’s collected poems My Vocabulary Did This to Me:
A Poetry Workshop from January 11 to April 19, 2015
(Cyberspace and Toronto, ON)



In this workshop, we will study Jack Spicer’s collected poems My Vocabulary Did This to Me; our engagement will generate strategies for the writing we enact.

To inquire about becoming a virtual or in-person student, please contact me at I will gladly send you a sample and answer any questions.


The workshop is one hour reading poems aloud and another hour writing. The writing portion takes the     form of starting points & prompts drawn from the poems as well as those of my own design. Weekly written materials include, introductory and contextualizing commentary, supplemental material, the span of pages to read, observations of what is happening in the text, and inventive writing prompts.

Workshops for virtual students culminate with a one-on-one consultation with me. For Toronto poets, it concludes with in-class reviews of mini-manuscripts.

All students may keep abreast of the material via weekly written materials regardless of whether virtual or in-person and unable to attend the class in real time. There is also a podcast recording of the in-person class shared via a Google Drive folder and an optional Google video call feature.

More Details on the Workshop:
Both in-person and virtual students have found that the workshop’s weekly engagement has generated poems, lead to revision of older work, given new understanding to poetics, and triggered the reworking of dusty manuscripts.

Attendance is in cyberspace (weekly write-ups, podcasts, and opportunities to listen in via video call) or, for Toronto poets, in my home near Chester Station. Meeting time for in-person attendance is 4 PM to 6 PM.

No class April 12.

Required text:
My Vocabulary Did This to Me, Jack Spicer, Wesleyan University Press

Suggested text:

Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance, Wesleyan University Press
History of the Workshop, Cost and How to Join:
I have been leading poetry workshops like this one for 16 years. The focus is poetics, transmission, absorption and enacting. Previous workshops have engaged the poetry of Dickinson, Stein, Niedecker, Olson, Creeley, Ted Berrigan, Notley, Whalen, Mayer and more. An essay on the class is included in the anthology Poets on Teaching (University of Iowa, 2010).

Please write to me at to inquire about enrollment. Tuition guarantees your seat.

If you are in Toronto, please don’t delay—seats are limited.

Cost for this 13 session series is a reasonable suggested donation of $190. Please inquire about payment forms. PayPal or interac payments should be sent to






















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This entry was posted on Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 3:07 pm and is filed under How to Write Poetry, Review. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.