Surprise Me With Kim Addonizio

Robert Frost famously said, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” As poets, we know the thrill of being surprised by the direction a draft takes; we may say something we never expected to say. As readers, surprise is often one source of delight, taking us somewhere we didn’t know we were going. How can you invite surprise into your own work? We’ll read and study some poems that successfully surprise in various ways, and read your own drafts to consider how you might revise for not only greater clarity and power, but also for various kinds of surprise. We may do some brief in-class writing or quick revision, so have at hand a piece you’re not very happy with that you’re ready to perform some outpatient surgery on. You should have two poems ready in advance to be workshopped by our group, due a week before the start of the festival; a third poem, based on an assignment, will be due from everyone for our final meeting.


Students should email me two poems-in-progress due one week before the workshop (Monday, Jan 3).