Make ’Em Laugh to Make ’Em Cry: How Humor can Improve Our Writing

with Valerie Bandura Workshop Type: 1-Day, 2014, All Levels, In-Person, Poetry, Spring, Unlisted
Length: 1-Day
Genre: Poetry
Type: In-Person
Skill Level: This workshop is suitable for writers of all skill levels.
Location: Piper Writers House, ASU Tempe Campus» View Map
Date: Saturday, 26 April 2014
Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Poems with interesting tonal choices create dynamic poems. They reveal what are our darkest attitudes about subjects that make us uncomfortable. So why are most of our poems so sincere? Somehow, we got the message that we are bound to relay serious information seriously. We may think that a serious subject deserves the dignity of a serious delivery. Maybe we think poetry’s only mode is sincerity: Art is serious; therefore, sincerity must be the only way to practice Art. But as Mark Irwin says, “Comic moments often amplify the tragic.”

My talk will present the advantages that humor can offer our writing. We will look at some poems by Philip Larkin, Paul Guest, Dean Young, Jeffrey McDaniel, and others, that use various modes of humor to illicit a deeper relationship to the tragic. Through guided exercises, we will have the chance to practice some of the ideas presented. We will also make time to workshop our results, and discuss the potential for identifying moments of humor in our writing.

Notice: Sorry but registration is now closed for this workshop.

Valerie Bandura photoAbout Valerie Bandura

Valerie Bandura is the author of Freak Show (Black Lawrence Press, 2013), a finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, CrazyhorseAlaska Quarterly Review, ZYZZYVACimarron Review, Mid-American ReviewThird Coast, and the Best New Poets anthology, among others. She was awarded a residency from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and the James Merrill Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. Born in the former Soviet Union, Bandura received degrees from Columbia University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, where she served as the Joan Beebe Teaching Fellow. She teaches writing at Arizona State University and at the Piper Center for Creative Writing.

Notice: Sorry but registration is now closed for this workshop.

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