In this workshop, we will explore how place – and placelessness – impact a poem’s potency. Being grounded fully in a specific place allows for the poet to swim in unique images and evoke sensory details that breathe life into the poem. Attendees will discuss various grounded poems and move into the “in-between” that are less identifiable as real, specific, or singular places. How does the choice of setting and the establishment of a world’s rules serve the poetic purpose? Handouts will be provided with examples of poems that use place as a key tool in advancing the power of the words on the page. Participants will then respond to prompts during two ten-minute free writes. As a third and optional exercise, participants are encouraged to bring in a photo of a place of significance to them, with the goal of marrying the visual images with the poetic.
Bio: Sam Leon is an MFA candidate in poetry at Florida International University, where she teaches undergraduate writing. She is the Assistant Managing Editor for GulfStream Magazine. Leon earned her BA in English Writing from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where she was a two-time recipient of the Carroll Creative Writing Scholarship. Her book reviews and author interviews have been or will soon be published in Gulf Stream Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Iowa Review.