Master Class – A Planet of Lost Things: Poetry is About Memory and Loss [Carol Muske-Dukes]
The poet Mark Strand authored, a while ago, a children’s book called The Planet of Lost Things. The book’s reassuring theme was that all of the things we lose (in childhood and beyond) end up on a faraway planet. Lost things—from a missing sock to a disappeared charm bracelet—show up there. If each of us created our own “planet of lost things,” what would we find there? Of course, all poems are about memory and loss—but the specificity of each disappearance and its effect on writing is what participants will address. Thus we’ll contextualize the idea of loss and how it echoes throughout poetry of the past and present—from Milton to Tu Fu to Robert Hayden to (of course) Elizabeth Bishop. The focus on the “self” will be in learning to self-edit, the goal of every creative writer. Participants will be invited to try writing exercises on this subject.