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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.
Carol Muske-Dukes is a professor at the University of Southern California and a former poet laureate of California. She is the author of eight books of poems, most recently Twin Cities (Penguin). Her poetry collection Sparrow (Random House) was a National Book Award finalist. She has published four novels, including Channeling Mark Twain (Random House), as well as a book of essays, Married to the Icepick Killer: a Poet in Hollywood. She has been the recipient of many awards & honors, including a Guggenheim fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grant, and Library of Congress award.