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In “Toward an Impure Poetry,” Pablo Neruda wrote, “A poetry impure as the clothing we wear, or our bodies, soup-stained, soiled with our shameful behavior.” Some say that the body and the poem are one and the same. How must we poets reconcile what we are with what we create? How can we craft poems that arise out of the richness of blood, bone, and gristle? We will read and write visceral poems that revel in the stuff of the body.
Roberto Ascalon is a poet, writer, arts educator, and spoken-word performance artist who lives in the historic Youngstown/Cooper School in West Seattle. The recent recipient of the 2013 Rattle Poetry Prize, Ascalon has taught at Nova High School and participated in Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers-in-the Schools program. He currently works as a teaching artist and mentor for Arts Corps, Youth Speaks Seattle, and the Service Board.