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Poems are deviant, nonstandard, subversive, and built on layers of meaning, both visible and hidden. Even a poem that exhibits regular form can hold within its body subtle avoidances, competing rhetoric, threads of unconventional or surprising language, and an undermining of convention—even as it presents a familiar pattern on the surface. We’ll look at some of the many ways in which poetry is a vehicle for social critique and change as well as a time-honored way to resist the ordinary and the obvious. Participants should bring a poem, pen, pad of paper, and a point of view.
D. A. Powell is the author of five collections, including Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. His honors include the Kingsley Tufts Prize in Poetry, the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America and an Arts & Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Critic Stephen Burt, writing in the New York Times, said of D. A. Powell “No accessible poet of his generation is half as original, and no poet as original is this accessible.” A former Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Poetry at Harvard University, Powell has taught at University of San Francisco, Stanford University, Columbia University, the University of Iowa’s Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Davidson College. He lives in San Francisco. In 2014 Graywolf released Repast: Tea, Lunch & Cocktails, a reissue of Powell’s first three collections with an introduction by novelist David Leavitt.