Faculty & Featured Poets

Focus on your work with America’s most engaging and award-winning poets. Workshop faculty includes: Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Nickole Brown, Reginald Gibbons, Jessica Jacobs, Major Jackson, Ilya Kaminsky, Dana Levin, Adrian Matejka, and Maggie Smith.  Our Special Guest Poet will be Joy Harjo and Patricia Smith will be the festival Poet-at-Large.

Join us at the 16th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival in Delray Beach, Florida, January 20-25, 2020 where poetry is the conversation!

Applications are now open. Visit the Workshop Application Page to apply online using Submittable.

Workshop Faculty
LAURE-ANNE BOSSELAAR
LAURE-ANNE BOSSELAAR ’s most recent poetry collection is These Many Rooms (Four Way Books, 2019). She also is the author of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf and Small Gods of Grief, which was awarded the Isabella Gardner Prize ... Read more >
WAIT… LET ME REPHRASE THIS with LAURE-ANNE BOSSELAAR
Many poets find it challenging to revise their work without the help of a workshop group or mentor. This inter-active workshop will focus on how can we acquire the tools we need to revise poems on our own. We’ll work on strengthening those new skills which will — systematically and in depth — address all the elements of a poem: form, syntax, tone, metaphor, line-breaks, etc. This interactive workshop will be fun, so do bring your sense of humor. Also bring 3 poems (no more than 1 page in 12pt font) that you feel are “stuck.”  I will give prompts ... Read more >
NICKOLE BROWN
NICKOLE BROWN received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She worked at Sarabande Books for ten years. She’s the ... Read more >
POETRY AS PRACTICE OF AWARENESS with NICKOLE BROWN & JESSICA JACOBS
If we are all telling the same stories of love, sex, and death, how can we sidestep cliché? With a trifecta of close readings of contemporary poems, practical lessons designed to deepen your understanding of craft (and how you can put those tips to real use), and a multitude of generative exercises to get you writing in and out of class, you will refresh your senses through a deep practice of awareness in order to see—and write—anew. These two workshop leaders—with complimentary but unique approaches to entering and revising poems—make for a dynamic, challenging intensive that welcomes those willing to ... Read more >
REGINALD GIBBONS
Born and raised in Houston, Reginald Gibbons earned his BA in Spanish and Portuguese from Princeton University, and both his MA in English and creative writing and his PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University. ... Read more >
DIGGING WITH THE PEN with REGINALD GIBBONS
In his famous early poem, “Digging,” Seamus Heaney says that to write poems he’ll “dig,” as a farmer does, in the earth of life and language with a pen.  In this workshop we’ll work on two levels.  Where are the roots of the poem?  What’s underneath what we can see of the poem in its current version?  We’ll work with the earth and water that a poem is made of–language, craft, memory, feeling, thought, experience, awareness.  And also: how does line-by-line craft produce the poem’s structure?  For each poet we’ll work together in a process of discovery, and we’ll also see ... Read more >
MAJOR JACKSON
Major Jackson is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently The Absurd Man (Norton: 2020) and Roll Deep (Norton: 2015), winner of the 2016 Vermont Book Award and hailed in the New York ... Read more >
SAYING THE UNSAYABLE: A GENERATIVE WORKSHOP with MAJOR JACKSON
Donald Hall once wrote: “Poetry . . . wants to address the whole matter of the human—including fact and logic, but also the body with its senses, and above all the harsh complexities of emotion.” This generative and rigorous workshop is designed for those interested in investing their poems with the complexity of their intellect but also their emotional truths. Together, we will seek the poetic forms, luminous language, and attitude by which to amplify what we find most important to say, what is radiant and authentic about our journey on earth. Save the dates! January 20-25, 2020 in Delray ... Read more >
JESSICA JACOBS
Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books, 2019), Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press, 2015), a biography-in-poems of Georgia O’Keeffe, winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and a ... Read more >
POETRY AS PRACTICE OF AWARENESS with NICKOLE BROWN & JESSICA JACOBS
If we are all telling the same stories of love, sex, and death, how can we sidestep cliché? With a trifecta of close readings of contemporary poems, practical lessons designed to deepen your understanding of craft (and how you can put those tips to real use), and a multitude of generative exercises to get you writing in and out of class, you will refresh your senses through a deep practice of awareness in order to see—and write—anew. These two workshop leaders—with complimentary but unique approaches to entering and revising poems—make for a dynamic, challenging intensive that welcomes those willing to ... Read more >
ILYA KAMINSKY
Ilya Kaminsky (born April 18, 1977 in Odessa, Soviet Union, now Ukraine) is a Russian-American poet, critic, translator and professor. He began to write poetry seriously as a teenager in Odessa, publishing a chapbook in ... Read more >
CRAFT & VOICE with ILYA KAMINSKY
In this workshop, we will talk about poems from around the world and also discuss your own work. Everyone will receive a line-by-line reading of their poetry. The details, images and sounds, the aspects of line, linebreak, metaphor, and others tools of our craft will be discussed in depth. The focus here is on you: how can your work grow, develop. What tools of poetic craft might best fit your voice? The students should bring 17 copies of one of their poems to the first class meeting. Save the dates! January 20-25, 2020 in Delray Beach. Read more >
DANA LEVIN
Dana Levin’s most recent book of poetry is the remarkable Banana Palace (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). Her first book, In the Surgical Theatre, won the 1999 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize and went on to receive nearly every award ... Read more >
POETRY AND THE UNCONSCIOUS with DANA LEVIN
“Life’s nonsense pierces us with strange relation,” writes poet Wallace Stevens. In this workshop, we will explore how to “make sense” of poetry’s relationship to the unconscious and the use we can make of this relationship for poetic composition and revision. We will discuss the notion of associative logic, look at poems by poets such as Charles Simic, Tomaz Salamun, Brenda Hillman, and Gertrude Stein. Before the festival begins, we will embark on a two-part poetry exercise that engages the unconscious, and workshop our visions once we convene together. Each participant will also submit two poems (no more than five ... Read more >
ADRIAN MATEJKA
Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author of The Devil’s ... Read more >
THE MASKS WE WANT: PERSONA & POETRY & POSSIBILITY with ADRIAN MATEJKA
The word persona comes from the Latin term for mask. A number of American poets—Ai, Rita Dove, Andrew Hudgins, Tyehimba Jess, Natasha Trethewey, and Kevin Young—have adopted linguistic masks to create new and complicated narratives. This workshop will consider the possibilities and implications of contemporary persona poetry and what it takes to render the poetic mask in a textured and considerate way. How do we negotiate those spaces that aren’t from our experience? What kinds of opportunities and permissions does writing in persona offer us? How can we write in persona with ethical and creative clarity? Participants will write new monologues based ... Read more >
MAGGIE SMITH
Maggie Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015); and Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005).  Lamp of the Body won the 2003 Benjamin ... Read more >
MAKING IT & BREAKING IT: LINE, SYNTAX & STANZA with MAGGIE SMITH
In this generative workshop we’ll consider the craft decisions we make in free-verse poems: How are the elements of the poem working on their own? How do they work with—or against—each other? How might form enact—or reveal—content? We’ll discuss a wide variety of contemporary model poems, paying special attention to how line, syntax, and stanza can communicate meaning, and we will use those model poems as prompts for poems to be written before the next day’s workshop session. As we discuss participants’ poems over the course of the week, we’ll build creative momentum and develop new strategies to carry participants forward ... Read more >
Special Guest
JOY HARJO
Joy Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN ... Read more >
2020 Special Guest, Joy Harjo
The festival welcomes Joy Harjo to the festival as our Special Guest. She will be interviewed with Laure-Anne Bosselaar and will deliver the annual Thomas Lux Memorial Reading following the festival gala. We congratulate her on being named the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate in June 2019. Read more >
Poet at Large
PATRICIA SMITH
PATRICIA SMITH is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist ... Read more >
2020 Poet At Large: PATRICIA SMITH
The festival Poet At Large will appear for a special evening reading on Friday, January 24th, and also present to high school students throughout Palm Beach County during festival week. This year’s Poet At Large is Patricia Smith. We anticipate that this program will reach one of the largest festival audiences in our history. It is an honor to welcome Patricia Smith to the festival in this new role to reach an important festival audience including teachers and students beyond the walls of the Crest Theatre. Read more >
Conference Faculty
Lorna Knowles Blake
LORNA KNOWLES BLAKE was born in Havana, Cuba and spent her childhood in Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and Puerto Rico before coming to the United States. Her collection of poems, Permanent Address, won the Richard Snyder ... Read more >
OPTIONAL ONE-ON-ONE CONFERENCES
Additional focus on your work is available in individual one-hour conferences on up to 10 pages of poetry. Conference Faculty: Lorna Knowles Blake, Sally Bliumis-Dunn, and Angela Narciso Torres. Applicants may request a conference with their application. Appointments will be confirmed upon acceptance to a workshop, first-come-first served. Requests for conferences may be made early, along with applications and will be accepted until December 1st. Manuscripts are due to faculty for review by December 10th. The cost is $99, payable upon confirmation. A great opportunity!       Conferences are available to accepted participants and auditors, not to the general ... Read more >
SALLY BLIUMIS-DUNN
SALLY BLIUMIS-DUNN teaches Modern Poetry at Manhattanville College. She received her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence e in 2002. Her poems have appeared in  Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review, the NYT, Paris Review, PBS NewsHour, ... Read more >
OPTIONAL ONE-ON-ONE CONFERENCES
Additional focus on your work is available in individual one-hour conferences on up to 10 pages of poetry. Conference Faculty: Lorna Knowles Blake, Sally Bliumis-Dunn, and Angela Narciso Torres. Applicants may request a conference with their application. Appointments will be confirmed upon acceptance to a workshop, first-come-first served. Requests for conferences may be made early, along with applications and will be accepted until December 1st. Manuscripts are due to faculty for review by December 10th. The cost is $99, payable upon confirmation. A great opportunity!       Conferences are available to accepted participants and auditors, not to the general ... Read more >
Angela Narciso Torres
Angela Narciso Torres is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books Poetry Prize). Her work appears or is forthcoming in POETRY, Quarterly West, Missouri Review, Bellingham Review, Cortland Review, and PANK. A graduate of Warren ... Read more >
OPTIONAL ONE-ON-ONE CONFERENCES
Additional focus on your work is available in individual one-hour conferences on up to 10 pages of poetry. Conference Faculty: Lorna Knowles Blake, Sally Bliumis-Dunn, and Angela Narciso Torres. Applicants may request a conference with their application. Appointments will be confirmed upon acceptance to a workshop, first-come-first served. Requests for conferences may be made early, along with applications and will be accepted until December 1st. Manuscripts are due to faculty for review by December 10th. The cost is $99, payable upon confirmation. A great opportunity!       Conferences are available to accepted participants and auditors, not to the general ... Read more >