(This page will be updated for the 10th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival, January 20-25, 2014 shortly.)
Workshops are limited to 12 qualified participants and 3 auditors to provide a meaningful level of discussion, and careful, informed attention to your work. Beginning poets, shy about sharing their poems, should consider auditing a workshop as a great way to learn by observing and listening. Review our Application Guidelines for more details and the workshop descriptions that follow on this page. Click the following link to see our brochure in pdf format.
2013 WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS
CRAFT MASTERY with B.H. FAIRCHILD
In my poetry workshop participants will critique each other's poems, followed by a critique from me. Participants should bring along four or five samples of their own work (one-page poems preferred). We will use work by master poets to illustrate and discuss certain matters of craft. I will also make a poetry assignment or two during the course of the week based on the issues raised during our meetings and discussions.
NEW SHADOWS: MOVING POEMS FROM IMITATION TO INNOVATION with TERRANCE HAYES
This workshop is intended to help poets help themselves. It will offer concrete strategies for sustained writing when the only teacher available is a book. We will explore the ways inventive imitation can lead to poetic discovery and innovation. (Think of imitation as transformation not reproduction.) Daily writing assignments will involve discussing and then imitating published poems from a multitude of styles and traditions. Come prepared to generate and share work written in class. In workshops poems will be discussed not for their merit as imitations, but for their originality and potential. No advance submission is necessary.
ENLARGING POEMS with JANE HIRSHFIELD
A poem’s largeness is not in its length, but in its depth, range, and openness. One reason to write a poem is to bring both language and self into unforeseen possibilities of being. In this workshop we will stretch from familiar ground toward the new. The workshop will be devoted primarily to writing new poems, each day bringing a different set of energies, craft strategies, and approaches to that task. We will work in the spirit of “starts,” experiments, generous explorations. We will also consider one previously written poem by each participant over the workshop’s course. Please bring writing materials; copies for the full group of a previously written poem (and a second, in case we have time for more) you do not consider finished; and five poems (not your own) you find thrilling (a page or less, no copies needed).
A WORKSHOP ON LAYERING with TONY HOAGLAND
The question in writing poems is always, “How can I do justice to the complexity of life? How can I not oversimplify human nature?” One way to achieve richness of texture and implication is "layering." In this workshop I’ll present examples of poems strong in variety of texture, variety of voice, and in layering of data and diction. I’ll also run exercises which can enlarge your repertoire of tone, diction, data, and poetic structures to generate new work. Revised drafts will be considered for discussion. Participants will also bring 2-3 of their poems they feel would benefit from discussion in workshop and the layering approach.
THE POEM THAT WRITES ITSELF with LAURA KASISCHKE
In this workshop we will discuss poems, offer critiques, and practice methods to explore memory and use imagination to find material for new poems. (Each poet will workshop three poems during three separate workshops). Through discussion of submitted poems, and some exercises, we’ll examine and discover ways the unconscious might be harnessed in the service of poetry writing. I hope you will learn new approaches that will make poetry writing more effortless and more rewarding, and ways to revise poems that you will surprise you. Bring 3 poems for workshop discussion.
WORD BY WORD, LINE BY LINE with THOMAS LUX
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.
SOMETHING PATTERNED, WILD AND FREE with TRACY K. SMITH
A poem is a conundrum. It is made from language, and yet seeks to describe that which exists beyond or outside of ordinary speech. It begins in pursuit of one idea, image, concept or question, and enacts a “turn” or “transformation” that reveals more than what was initially sought. And the impact of poems—good poems—is to change the reader (and, hopefully, the poet) in ways that resonate well beyond the scope of a single idea or theme. With these ideas in mind, we will spend the first half of each session discussing a brief selection of published poems. The second half will focus on critique of student work. Each participant will have the opportunity to workshop 3 poems in the span of 5 sessions. Upon acceptance to the workshop, poems will be submitted via email by January 1, 2013.
“GEM TACTICS”: DEPLOYING ECSTATIC RUSES IN POEMS OF ARDOR with LISA RUSS SPAAR
Paul Valéry once pointed out that “A poet’s function . . . is not to experience the poetic state: that is a private affair. His function is to create it in others.” How can we create for our reader, in poems, an experience of our “private,” subjective ardor, be it erotic, ecstatic, melancholy, religious, political, quotidian, cosmic, or other? Metaphor, elision, syntax, juxtaposition, Heaney’s “binding secret” of sound textures, sampling, inter-textuality, varied registers of diction—what Dickinson called her “gem tactics” and Anne Carson: ruses. We will look at how a discerning use of these and other poetic devices help us to say the unsayable, deepen and open our poems to what is at stake in them, as language acts, as testimony, as witness, as play. Workshop will involve constructive critique of student poems and generation of new material. Participants will send 3-4 poems in advance of the workshop.