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Kiss Me, We’re Dying: A Poetry Workshop w/ Jen Steinorth

The Word Barn
66 Newfields Road
Exeter, NH 03833
United States

Kiss Me, We’re Dying: Exploring a Poetics of Intimacy & Aversion, in three parts

Part 1. The political begins in intimacy. Forrest Gander, Be With.
In the first part of this class we will examine the integration of the intimate with the repellent—examining poems that draw us into congress with another, while simultaneously affronting us with what causes us to avert our eyes. We will observe such dynamic polarity and its effects in the work of Solmaz Sharif, Jan Beatty, Frank Bidart, Sylvia Plath & others—unpacking the postures and techniques by which engagement with the abhorrent calls us into deeper congress with ourselves and others. The session will close with several writing exercises designed to help us penetrate boundaries and enter hot uncomfortable material.

Part 2. Much has been declared about the musicality of poetry. Not so much about the physicality. C.D. Wright, Cooling Time.

In part 2, we will examine poems whose visual organization is architectural, who depend on open space—a virtual sky, field, stage across which to leap– who attend the movement of the eye across the page, screen, landscape of the poem, and through careful orchestration between word and word and open space, create dwellings whose empty corridors, as well as the articulate furniture, mean to be inhabited, haunted. This session will close with writing exercises designed to explore visual structure and use of space. Participants may wish to bring with them some unrealized drafts to play with, though text generated in the first part of the workshop can also be used for these exercises.

Part 3. Much has been written about Erasure poetry in the last decade, particularly in the Trump-era. But what is the point of constraining oneself to someone else’s words? What can be achieved through Erasure that cannot be achieved in conventional generation? Is an erasure a dialogue more complex than that between reader and writer, and if so, how? In this part we will examine some excerpts of book length erasures. Participants may wish to bring a non-literary text (reference book, government document, manual) with which to play.

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