“Thank you for leading us through this book of poems with so much insight and love. All the supplemental materials and audio recordings and of course the writing prompts made me engage more intimately with a poet than I’ve ever experienced in a classroom or workshop-type setting.”
–from a poet participating at a distance in the Frank O’Hara Winter 2016 workshop
Photo of the Lorine Niedecker Workshop 2013 by Joan Guenther
This is poetics workshop and a lab for writing.
Each week I send detailed write-ups of the workshop. Virtual poets take this material and respond to them in/on their own time. “Write-ups” doesn’t describe the written material accurately. The written materials include, typically, introductory and contextualizing commentary, supplemental material, the span of pages to read, observations of what is happening in the text, and inventive writing prompts. Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see a sample of these materials.
Podcast recordings of the workshops are made available for poets so they may hear the poems, running commentary, and prompts voiced.
An optional Google Hangout call is possible on the day of the workshop meetings.
We meet every Sunday at my home in Toronto (near Chester Station) and begin by reading the selected text aloud for the first hour. We literally give it breath; we breathe it and feel it in our bodies, release it into the air and let it circulate, come back into our ears and our skin and additional sites of reception. We each read a page or a poem. I provide some context to the poems and will occasionally define or locate a reference, but do not otherwise explicate the work.
In the second hour we write. I draw us back to the text then, pointing out various writing strategies and also bring other strategies to bear on the upcoming writing, with the goal of entering a liminal space where we can write, write with an unstructured, inviting mind.
I provide the written materials to the in-person poets each week; these provide continuity and content regardless of whether attendance is possible to all meetings. One may also return to the materials iteratively.
Manuscript Consult Conclude the Workshop
At the close of the workshop, our writing sessions are formalized into poems—participants gather works into mini-manuscripts for review and commentary in the final class or, in the case of virtual students, in one-on-one phone consultations with me.
Both in-person and virtual poets 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.
Write to me at email@example.com for more information.