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When does a poem’s true identity become clear to us? What is the poem beneath the poem? In this workshop we will define and identify the elusive arc of a poem, which is the point in the poem where rests the vein-matter that gives life to the entire poem. We will read and discuss poems by the likes of Yusef Komunyakaa, Carl Phillips, and Ladan Osman in order to make ourselves comfortable with what an arc is and how it works. We will conclude with a writing exercise to get you into good practice of turning your head away in order to get a better look at and feel for the heart of the poem.
Phillip B. Williams is author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels, Burn, and Thief in the Interior. He is a Cave Canem graduate and the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Kenyon Review Online, The Southern Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, West Branch, Blackbird, and others.