Poetic Calisthenics: Four ways to stretch what you know about writing poems

with Valerie Bandura Workshop Type: 4-Week, All Levels, In-Person, Poetry, Unlisted
Length: 4-Week
Genre: Poetry
Type: In-Person
Skill Level: This workshop is suitable for writers of all skill levels.
Location: ASU Campus, Tempe
From: Wednesday, 02 October 2013
To: Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Time: 6–8pm

Workshop Description

We’ve all worked out ways to write the poems we like to write. We like our ways because they are known to us. But to paraphrase an unlikely source of wisdom and clarity, Donald Rumsfeld, there are unknown unknowns, things we don’t know we don’t know. Each week, we will challenge our way of writing by studying new ways of speaking and seeing, weaving content and making meaning. We will study writers who use these particular tricks in different ways. And we will incorporate these new methods into our own work to share as a group.

Over the course of four weeks, students will explore new ways in interacting with their writing, produce new material, have the chance to share work in a supportive and guided setting, be exposed to new contemporary writers, and connect with writers in their area through the workshop setting.

Workshop Outline

Week 1: Metaphor

Metaphor: Making metaphor is the central impulse for poetry. First, we will take a closer look at how we use sight and association to make metaphor with a series of writing exercises. We will then read a handout of poems that make metaphors in unusual and interesting ways. Finally, we will use images, gestures, video clips, and other media sources to make meaning.

Homework: Write a poem that uses sensory information from objects or action to make meaning.

Week 2: Tone

Share poems from the previous week.

Tone: Many poems I read tend to be written with great sincerity. There’s nothing wrong with sincerity, as long as we know that sincerity is as much a tonal choice as other ways of speaking. We will read some poems from a handout that challenge our usual poetic tonal experience. And we will explore tonal shifts through written exercises.

Homework: Write a poem that makes a distinct tonal choice.

Week 3: Point of View

Share poems from the previous week.

Point of View: Point of view is generally associated with fiction writers. But from what perspective we choose to look at a scene, a person, an action, an object, is a technique we as poets can borrow in surprising ways. To practice greater control of our use of point of view, we will retell current tabloid stories from someone other than the person to whom the action happened. Then we will read some poems from a handout that takes advantage of perspective.

Homework: Write a poem using a current event from an unexpected perspective.

Week 4: Weaving and Expanding

Share poems from the previous week.

Weaving and Expanding: As poets we learn to cut back, cut down, cut out. But whittling is not the only way. Either in draft form or in the final version, adjectives, or whole narratives that initially seem extraneous or tangential, can inform, direct, layer, and texture a poem. We will study some poems from a handout that expand where we may not expect so, and weave where our impulses may urge us to trim back. We will also have time to try expanding and weaving with our own narratives or lyrics.

Limited Enrollment
Notice: Registration for this workshop is now closed.

Valerie Bandura photoAbout Valerie Bandura

Valerie Bandura’s collection of poems, Freak Show, was published by Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc Books in 2013. 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 was awarded a residency from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the James Merrill Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. Her poems have appeared, among other publications, in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, Alaska QuarterlyThird Coast, and the Best New Poets anthology. She teaches writing at Arizona State University.

Notice: Registration for this workshop is now closed.

Recent Blog Posts

Break the Line Early

April 10,2014 I’ve argued that consistent use of a single, consistent measure for the lines of a poem is meaning-bearing in itself and one of the most significant choices a poet can make in the construction... Continue Reading

Crock-Pot Novelist

April 01,2014 Slow-cookers have always amazed me. A hodge-podge of meat, vegetables and whatnot gets tossed in the Crock-Pot in the morning. The ingredients simmer together all day. Their flavors blend. Their aromas comingle and fill... Continue Reading
Page 1 of 1312345...10...Last »