2010 Archive

The Sixth Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival was held January 18-23, 2010 and the faculty included Stephen Doybyns, Carolyn Forche, Marie Howe, Thomas Lux, David Wojahn, Kevin Young, Mary Cornish and Ilya Kaminsky. Featured Florida Poets were Jay Hopler and Sydney Wade and performance Poets featured at the annual Coffee House event with return of DiscO'Hara and dancing, were Andrea Gibson and Anis Mojgani . Biographies of the poets and descriptions of the workshops that were offered follow below.

6th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival, January 18-23, 2010
Old School Square, Delray Beach, Florida

Click the following link to see our brochure in pdf format.


THE POEM'S INTENTION with Stephen Dobyns
Poetry, as well as being an art form, is an act of communication. My role in a workshop is to lead the discussion to what the poet is attempting to communicate and determine why he or she desires to communicate it; that is, what is the poem’s intention? A poem by being, ideally, an equal mix of form and content has the potential to communicate more precisely than any other verbal form, since the manner of its telling tells as much as the matter. The discussion will focus on how the poem is written, the noises it makes, the word choices, how the information is arranged. A poem exists on the page as text and in the air as noise, so sound and sense must be constantly addressed. Since the poem has been submitted to workshop, I assume that it has yet to be completed. My job, and the job of the workshop, is to help make the poem as successful as possible. Bring 3-4 poems, 17 copies of each, for discussion.

Find out more about Stephen Dobyns at the Academy of American Poets website: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/743.

This workshop will be at once critical and generative: we will read and revise three poems by each participant, and we’ll also write three new poems in response to exercises and experiments. Techniques of revision will be explored, including unexpected methods. I will share with you my practices as a poet (for reading, the keeping of notebooks, first-draft composition and ways to break open the territory of the poem. Please bring three of your own poems with 17 copies for everyone, a favorite poem by someone else (with copies), a pair of scissors for cutting paper, a glue-stick, at least a few sheets of plain copy paper, a paperback dictionary and a book of poetry you love. Come prepared to try something new.

Find out more about Carolyn Forché on our biography page, or at the Academy of American Poets website: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/214.

DISCOVERY AND POWER WITH Marie Howe When writing, it is often best not to think of a reader -- in order to plunge into the unknown -- in order to experience discovery. “No discovery for the writer, no discovery for the reader,” Robert Frost writes. Later though, when preparing a poem for a reader, how can we edit and rewrite to charm the reader to keep reading? In this workshop we will look hard at poems -- through two distinct lenses: discovery and power. How can the poem push itself further into discovery? How can we edit the poem for power? Bring three poems, seventeen copies of each, to workshop for discussion. This will be an intensive workshop and it will be a joy!

Find out more about Marie Howe at the Poetry Foundation sponsored Poetry Everywhere website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/poetryeverywhere/howe.html or on her personal website: http://www.mariehowe.com/mariehowe.html.

We will pay close attention, in minute detail, to all the elements that go into writing a poem. So: we'll do word by word, line by line readings. Frost said that the primary way to get to the reader's heart and mind is through the reader's ear. The sound, the noise of a poem, demands our attention. We must be tough, honest and direct with each other's work and also be generous, thoughtful and never condescending or dismissive. A good workshop can do both. Bring in three or four poems, seventeen copies of each, for discussion.

Find out more about Thomas Lux at the Academy of American Poets website: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/115 or see an interview conducted by J.M. Spalding of The Cortland Review may be accessed here: http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/8/lux8i.htm.

TAKING RISKS with Jean Valentine
Our course will emphasize listening and writing in non-judgmental and honest company, taking risks, and a commitment to reading and re-reading, writing and re-writing. We may do in-class writing as well, depending on time. Please bring three poems, with 17 copies of each.

You can visit Jean Valentine's website: http://www.jeanvalentine.com or read more about Jean at the American Academy of Poets website: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/760.

with David Wojahn
This workshop will follow most of the time-tested approaches to a poetry workshop; we will daily critique one another's work, at least one poem by every class member per meeting. Participants will have daily take-home writing exercises, based on useful models drawn from contemporary poetry and my own years of teaching. I will also meet with each student for an individual conference. Bring 5 poems, 17 copies of each.

Find out more about David Wojahn on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Wojahn or listen to an interview with William Matthews in Blackbird, VCU's online journal: http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu/v4n1/nonfiction/wojahn_d/index.htm

POEMS OF PRAISE with Kevin Young

From elegies to odes, an important aspect of poetry since the Romantics is poetry of praise and remembrance. We will explore the extraordinary in the everyday, and vice versa. As in Pablo Neruda’s Elemental Odes, to things like salt or Lucille Clifton’s Homage to My Hips, we will discover and write our own out of the ecstasy of daily life. We will contend with how to describe loss, considering texts such as Auden’s Elegy forW.B. Yeats and Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard. We will dare to make use of the opposite of praise, writing a poetic curse. Our poems will range from the sacred to the sorrowful to the silly, as we receive constructive criticism and praise. Bring 3-5 of your poems, 17 copies of each, to the first session

Find out more about Kevin Young at the Academy of American Poets website: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/416 or see the News Hour interview: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/jan-june07/young_03-01.html


with Mary Cornish
What is known about the nature and acquisition of images? Of words? How does this relate to what scientists have called “primary metaphor”––and what does this mean to us as working poets? This workshop sets out to explore the visual image that “haunts” the poet and follow its transformation into words. We will increase our understanding and extend our range through prompts, the study of models, the reading of essays. We make of our class an attentive place, a safe place– even playful– yet a place where there is genuine demand and risk-taking. This workshop offers the chance to critique submitted poems as well as generate new work. Bring 3 poems 17 copies of each that have not already been to other workshops.

Find out more about Mary Cornish at http://www.slc.edu/writing/Mary_Cornish.php or read a poem on Verse Daily, http://www.versedaily.org/2007/aboutmarycornishrs.shtml

MASTERS AS MODELS with Ilya Kaminsky
How do poets learn (and steal) from other poets? What can we learn from observing them in action? How can that improve our own work? As we read and discuss poems from around the world, and talk about the various ways they suggest improvement for our own writing, participants will benefit from constructive critique and generate new work. Please bring at least 3 poems, 17 copies of each in advance of the workshop. Specifically, our goal will be to take those international poets as a model for our own poems, writing at least 10 new poems of our own during this workshop.

Find out more about Ilya Kaminsky on his homepage: www.ilyakaminsky.com or in an article written for Centrum Writing Center at http://www.centrum.org/writing/2008/08/the-sunlight-of.html.