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“I don’t like teaching,” were the words with which Elizabeth Bishop began her legendary workshops at the University of Washington, “but we’ll practice the most basic, useful poetic strategy — to write in form.” In this workshop modeled on her example, we will read poems in form by Bishop, Weldon Kees, neo-Formalists, and others. We’ll explore how form helps poets achieve surprising leaps in their language and try forms such as pantoum, triolet, villanelle, and abecedarian.
Suggested texts: Elizabeth Bishop, The Complete Poems: 1927-1979. Farrar, Straus, Giroux (any edition) or Elizabeth Bishop, Poems. FSG, 2011. An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art. U of Michigan Press, 2002.
No class May 26.
Carolyne Wright’s most recent books are This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (Lost Horse Press, 2017), whose title poem received a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Best American Poetry 2009; and the bilingual volume by Chilean poet Eugenia Toledo, Trazas de mapa, trazas de sangre / Map Traces, Blood Traces (2017), a Finalist for the 2018 Washington State Book Award in Poetry, and also for the 2018 PEN Los Angeles Award in Translation. She is co-editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace (Lost Horse, 2015), which received ten Pushcart Prize nominations. Author of nine previous books and chapbooks of poetry, four other volumes of poetry in translation from Spanish and Bengali, and a book of essays, Wright has served as Visiting Poet and professor of Creative Writing at colleges and universities throughout the U.S., including Harvard, Radcliffe, Emory University and the University of Miami. She returned in 2005 to her native Seattle, where she teaches for Hugo House, the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA Program (from 2005 until the program’s closure in 2016), and for national and international literary conferences and festivals. She spent a year in Chile on a Fulbright Study Grant during the presidency of Salvador Allende, and also traveled throughout Brazil. Wright has received fellowships from the NEA, 4Culture, and Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture. She returned to Brazil for two months in 2018 with an Instituto Sacatar artists residency in Bahia, and she has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award for Brazil for 2020-2021, which she will take up once the global coronavirus travel advisory is lifted.
Photo by Brian Weiss