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The Sweep of the Universe: Writing with Millennia of South Asian Poetry

with Shankar Narayan

Genres: Poetry

Online

Open to all levels

8 Sessions

Start Date: September 26, 2023
End Date: November 14, 2023
Day of Week: Tuesday
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm PT
Capacity: 15 seats
Member Price: $355.50
General Price: $395.00

The breadth and reach of South Asian poetry is almost unimaginably vast, encompassing six major religions, hundreds of languages, diverse geographies, and millennia of time. But much of this rich tradition is inaccessible to western writers. This part-generative, part-analytical course will survey its arc by examining its various forms and movements over the centuries—from ancient Sanskrit religious texts to Urdu political resistance poetry. We’ll use these works from other times and places to create our own universe of inspired pieces.

Payment plans are available for this class. Please email education@hugohouse.org to get a payment plan started.

Registration dates: 

August 7: Scholarship Donation Day

August 8: Member registration opens at 10:30 am

August 15: General registration opens at 10:30 am

August 21: Last day of Early Bird pricing

Shankar Narayan

Shankar Narayan

he/they

Shankar Narayan explores identity, power, mythology, and technology in a world where the body is flung across borders yet possesses unrivaled power to transcend them. Shankar is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the winner of prizes and fellowships from Kundiman, Hugo House, Jack Straw, Flyway, and River Heron. He is a 4Culture grant recipient for Claiming Space, a project to lift the voices of writers of color, and his chapbook, Postcards From the New World, won the Paper Nautilus Debut Series chapbook prize. Shankar draws strength from his global upbringing and from his work at the intersection of civil rights and technology. In Seattle, he awakens to the wonders of Cascadia every day, but his heart yearns east to his other hometown, Delhi. Connect with him at shankarnarayan.net.

Describe your teaching style.

As a teacher, I aim to create an inclusive, respectful, courageous, open, mutually engaging, and joyful space that connects with each writer as a complete being and helps move them toward finding and strengthening their true voice. Creating a writing community is also an explicit aim of my classes — a space in which writers learn and explore together, inspire growth in one another's writing, and serve as resources for one another even after the class has ended.

I combine the following key elements:

+Courageous

I aim for an environment in which writers will feel empowered to engage deeply with the subject matter, connect it to their own experiences and themes, and create their best and most fearless writing.

+Open

I teach my classes in a structured but flexible way that strikes a balance between following a preset curriculum and allowing opportunities for new ideas to open up channels of learning. I create spaces where all writers can engage and explore together, understanding that everyone has valuable knowledge and perspectives to contribute.

+Engaging

Learning, for me, always goes both ways, and I continue to be humbled by how much I learn in every class I teach. My classes include lots of engagement and discussion, and build in in-class writing as well as courageous sharing. Writers are also encouraged to highlight questions or other needs so I can provide resources in response.

+Joyful

Writing classes should be fun! I aim to work with a range of emotions including humor and levity, which can help balance somber subject matter. I often work with subject matter that brings out strong emotions, which I try to recognize and create appropriate space to work through.

+Community

I believe teaching without connection is impossible. So I try to get to know and understand writers in my classes as complete human beings in the context of their writing goals, and to encourage them to get to know, understand, and learn from one another. Writers need other writers, and I see the project of strengthening the mutual bond between writers as being every bit as important as imparting knowledge of a particular subject matter.

=Voice

Ultimately, I aim to impact the lives of writers in my classes by helping them find and strengthen their voices and achieve their own writing goals, whatever those may be.

Each class description includes a breakdown of what you can expect in terms of in-class activity, feedback, and homework (if any). 

Generative means you’ll be generating new writing, either in class or at home between classes.

Workshop means you’ll be sharing work to be read and critiqued by your instructor and classmates and that you will also be critiquing the work of your peers. 

Reading means you’ll be doing close reading of a work with an eye toward craft. 

Craft discussion means you’ll be looking at the tools writers use to do that thing they do so well and then trying it out yourself.

Class levels are designed for various stages of the writing journey. Simply self-select the level that sounds best for where you’re at. 

Introductory: This is your first creative writing workshop, first writing class since high school, or first foray into a new genre or form. You’re looking to try something new, kickstart your writing, and/or establish yourself in the fundamentals.

Intermediate: You have a strong understanding of writing fundamentals and are eager to deep dive into craft. You’re honing your writerly identity and voice through independent projects. In workshop, you look for constructive feedback and are ready to do writing and reading outside of class.

Advanced: You’ve written a significant body of work and have taken it through several stages of revision. You’re getting ready to publish or are in the early stage of publishing, and you’re interested in refining the skills that will take you to the next level in the literary industry.

All Levels: You are any of the above and are looking to play with new possibilities.

You’ll get your class information, including Zoom link if applicable, three days before the first day of class.

Write With Hugo House is our free monthly write-in program, operated in partnership with the Seattle Public Library. Two take place onsite at SPL locations, one takes place online. 

Sliding-scale classes are offered every quarter. Find them in our Class Catalog.

We announce flash sales, early bird periods, and special deals through our e-newsletter; sign up at the bottom of this page.

At this time, we offer payment plans on classes 8 sessions and up. Email education@hugohouse.org with the name of the class you’re interested in to set up a payment plan.

Asynchronous classes are perfect for students that need flexibility!

During an asynchronous class, instructors release new lessons once per week. Students then have one week to complete that lesson and any accompanying coursework. You’ll learn as much as you would in a traditional class but with the flexibility to work at the best times for your schedule!

While there are no live sessions, asynchronous classes are still a lively and rigorous experience. Async classes are not static lessons but an adaptable and energetic community space. Be ready to work in a collaborative environment, giving and receiving feedback on your writing, participating in discussions, and growing your writing practice in a way that works best for you.

Asynchronous classes take place through the website Wet Ink. Students receive an invitation to the class and to set up a Wet Ink account on the start date of the class. Each week of the class, a new lesson will be available through the Wet Ink portal. Classes close two weeks after the end date, and students receive an email containing their content from the class when it closes.

Hugo House will only process refund requests that are submitted 5 business days or more before the class start date. To request a refund, log in to your account, go to “My Account,” select the “Orders” tab on the left-hand side, click the appropriate order, and request a refund for your specific class. Administrative fees apply. Please see our full refund policy here.

In general, we do not record classes. However, an exception if a student has specific access needs.

We encourage students to only sign up for classes that fit with their schedule.   

We do not tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic or any other oppressive behaviors, regardless of who commits them. Please check out our full community guidelines by clicking here. If an instance of community guidelines are violated and not resolved within the classroom, students may let us know by filling out the student incident report.

If Hugo House needs to cancel a class for any reason, you’ll receive a full refund.

Hugo House members get to register early for classes – a full week before they open to the general public!, receive a 10% discount on events and classes, and more. See the full list of membership benefits here!

Donations of all sizes allow us to provide access to quality writing classes, events, and experiences for all. Please consider making a donation to Hugo House today.

If you’re interested in contributing your skills, Hugo House accepts volunteer applications for a variety of roles, including event support, administrative tasks, and more. Learn more on our Volunteer page.

Learn about all the ways to support Hugo House here.

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