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Date(s): Thursdays, January 18 - February 8, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Location: Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85821
Type(s): Craft Class, Generative Workshop
Genre and Form(s): Poetry
We are poets because, at some point in our lives, a poem sang to us—like nothing else. (Louise Gluck writes an account of feeling suddenly personally spoken to and un-lonely when reading Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock; Elizabeth Bishop was inspired by 17th-Century lyricist George Herbert, who also visited her in a dream. Ask any poet and there’s another story.) To become a poet means, among other things, to go to singing school. As William Butler Yeats wrote in his “Sailing to Byzantium”: Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnificence.
We are going to read magnificent old poems as well as newer poems, looking at how they are fashioned and why they work: formal and free verse, long- and short-lined poems, poems written originally in English as well as a few poems in translation. This is going to be a way of revitalizing your own work--revising your drafts into stronger poems, and creating new poems out of sheer excitement and love of the craft. (I’ll provide optional prompts and exercises for ongoing inspiration.) The best teachers in the world are the poems themselves—and so we are going to read together and help one another see what ideas are there for the taking. We are going to read like robbers.
Jeredith Merrin’s most recent publication is a prize-winning chapbook from Grayson Books entitled OWLING (2016). She earned a Ph.D in Anglo-American Poetic History from U.C. Berkeley, where she also studied at length with poets Robert Hass and Robert Pinsky. Her first two poetry books, Shift and Bat Ode, appeared in the University of Chicago Press Phoenix Poets series. Her third collection Cup was issued by Able Muse Press in 2014. In addition, Merrin has authored an influential book of criticism on Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, and her reviews and essays (on Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, John Clare, Charlotte Mew, Yehuda Amichai, Billy Collins, and others) have appeared in The Southern Review and elsewhere. Her poems may be found many journals and magazines, including Ploughshares, The Southern Poetry Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Berfrois, and The Yale Review. A retired Professor of English (The Ohio State University), she has given readings and conducted workshops at many venues in the area (including for the Piper Center). She lives in Tempe.