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Teaching


I teach at Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver. Below are some classes. The bibliography links are not only required books but recommendations if you want to go deeper. If you are interested in a class visit, workshop or one-day class, please contact me.

Workshops & Craft| Reading as a Writer| Poets in Translation |

Workshops & Craft

Poems in Series: Come into the Cage

I am a cage, in search of a bird   -Franz Kafka

Sometimes, the best poetry happens the other way around—you contain the space and let the magic enter. In this craft-centered workshop we will write poems that belong together because of subject or construction. Using examples from John Berryman, Martha Collins, Major Jackson, Lynn Emanuel, DH Lawrence, and others, we will explore and practice strategies to generate more poems by pushing against the known. We will tune up our detectors so as not to be boring. Simply put, we will breakthrough to innovation by entering the cage. Ideas, challenges and examples fill the first half of the class, followed by workshop and feedback in the second half. [Bibliography]

Poetic Turns

In this craft-centered class, we will explore ways to change direction using rhetorical moves and poetic structures. We’ll make lists with a twist, become ironic, switch it up halfway through and be concessional—not confessional. Inspired by Michael Theune’s Structure & Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns, a book recommended by Kim Addonizio on her visit to Lighthouse, the craft shack is the perfect place to make and play—exercises, experiments, and mini workshops. Poets and prose writers both welcome. Get ready for a revolution. [Bibliography]

Fun and Fearless Form

Why experiment with poetic forms? ‘Playing by the rules’ can get you out of writing ruts and flex your poetry muscle. You will be introduced to 6-8 poetic forms, read stellar examples by Elizabeth Bishop, Dante, Marilyn Hacker, Theodore Roethke and the ever- talented Anonymous. Then we’ll write on our own and share. Bring your poetic license and a sense of fun.

Introduction to Poetry Workshop

Poetry 101: Gotta Start Somewhere

Reading as a Writer

A Sophistikated Craft Workshop, Not Starring Tony Hoagland

Using Tony Hoagland’s book of essays Real Sophistikation as our text, we’ll explore post modern poetry in all its guts and glory. We will read and apply lessons from essays on metaphor, the work of Larry Levis and Bill Matthews, plus two others from the collection. This class is an excellent way for writers of all levels to expand their reading and learn how to apply the wisdom of master writers to your process and your poems.

Required Text: Tony Hoagland, Real sofistikashun: essays on poetry and craft, Graywolf 2006. Back to class

Reading as a Writer: Jane Kenyon & Donald Hall

Jane Kenyon was a poet of exquisite, lyrical, aching charm. “Gravity balanced by a neat wit” said Maxine Kumin. Donald Hall is a master of plain spoken song and scrutiny on rural life, loss and baseball. Together Kenyon and Hall made a life in poetry, a marriage that lasted 23 years until Kenyon’s death from leukemia at age 47. In this class we will examine the stunning strength and magic of their best poems and practice some of the moves of these two superb writers make. Get ready for “Having It Out with Melancholy” and learning the “Names of Horses” and more.

Required texts: Jane Kenyon: Collected Poems (2005) or Jane Kenyon: Otherwise: New and Collected Poems (1996)  and The Selected Poems of Donald Hall (2015) [Bibliography]
Back to class

Discovering Emily Dickinson Through Her Letters

The wit, soul and humanness of Emily Dickinson comes through loud and clear in her correspondence and reading her letters opens doors to her poems. One of our best American poets, “the only kangaroo among the beauty,” we will discover a more human side to Dickinson and delve into her poems via her Selected Letters, compiled and edited by Thomas H. Johnson. Beginning with her 15-year-old self and ending with a note written weeks before her death, Selected Letters breaks through the myths of the Belle of Amherst and illuminates her genius.

Required texts: Emily Dickinson: Selected Letters, Belknap Press; and an edition, preferably Johnson or Franklin of Emily Dickinson Selected Poems [Bibliography]
blog post: Is this your Emily Dickinson year?
Back to class

The Emily Dickinson Experience

In this class we will recreate Emily Dickinson’s poems in the way that she made them: from the repurposed envelopes she received, with multi-directional writing, cross outs and revisions. Then we will do some wild writing of our own with the multiple sizes, styles, and shapes of the material Emily used. Based on the book The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems by Jen Bervin and the recent Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them, we will experience and play with the what and how of Dickinson’s genius.

Required Text: Envelope Poems, by Emily Dickinson (Author), Jen Bervin (Editor), Marta Werner (Editor) [BibliographyBack to class

Contemporary Women Poets: More than the Usual Suspects

At LitFest, in June, usually in even numbered years, I teach a class based on my directed reading. If you’re a woman who has published a book of poems in the past year years, it’s likely I’ve looked at your book. Discoveries of six great writers are revealed. And, in honor of the long running WOM-PO listserv(?!) a foremother (celebrated woman poet) is an added bonus. blog post: Why read women poets

Poets in Translation

Every LitFest for the past 5 years I pair two poets writing in languages other than English. So far we have had poets writing in French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, German, Russian, Swedish and Greek.

Back to class

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