Stephanie Burt is a poet and critic and professor of English at Harvard University. Her books include After Callimachus: Poems, Don’t Read Poetry, Advice from the Lights: Poems, and the essay collection Close Calls with Nonsense, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work has appeared in such publications as the London Review of Books and the New York Times Book Review. She serves as poetry coeditor for the Nation
Poets need material; poems, even the wildest ones, need forms. All poems have imagined speakers, or real people speaking, except for the ones that don't. With three and a half workshop sessions over four days, we're going to look both at the preexisting material of your own poems and at ways to finds forms and speakers for new ones. In our first meeting we'll get to know one another and share some models. In the second, we'll begin to look at poems you've already finished, or drafted, before the workshop began: it will be a relatively conventional writing seminar where we read one another's work. The third and fourth (Saturday and Sunday) will mix workshop features with generative exercises: we'll figure out how to assign one another words, sounds, locales, and even personae for persona poems. Models from contemporary America-- and Ireland and India and New Zealand-- will come accompanied by hints and shapes from the literary past. What if the speech of your heart and the wishes of your childhood were best expressed in a series of 20 rhymes on the same sound, or spoken by a coelecanth, or a toaster? Try this workshop and find out.