When does it become a poem? What can you do when it floats on the surface and stalls? What’s the difference between the almost-passable look-alike and the real, the un-fake-able, thing? If we enter the poem to be changed, to discover connections or depths we could not have plotted beforehand, what place does that leave for craft and deliberation? How can we “plan” to be surprised? We’ll look together at a number of contemporary poems that, using contrasting methods and materials, successfully practice the art of discovery; and we’ll experiment with varied compositional strategies that seek to maximize our own poetic “yield.” By way of introducing yourselves, please bring two poems-in-progress to the first day of workshop. For the rest of the conference, we’ll be dividing our time between these poems and the new ones you write in response to prompts. I think you’ll be surprised, not only at the sheer amount of new work you’ll generate in six short days, but at your own limberness in the multiple techniques of discovery-on-the-page.
LINDA GREGERSON grew up in Illinois and received a BA from Oberlin College. She went on to earn an MA from Northwestern University, an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, and her PhD from Stanford University. Her books of poetry include The Selvage (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012); Magnetic North (Houghton Mifflin, 2007); Waterborne (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) – winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep (Houghton Mifflin, 1996) – a finalist for both The Poet’s Prize and the Lenore Marshall Award; and Fire in the Conservatory (Dragon Gate, 1982). She is also the author of literary criticism, including Negative Capability: Contemporary American Poetry (The University of Michigan Press, 2001); and The Reformation of the Subject: Spenser, Milton, and the English Protestant Epic (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Her awards and honors include The Levinson Prize from Poetry Magazine, The Consuelo Ford Award from The Poetry Society of America, The Isabel MacCaffrey Award from The Spenser Society of America, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize. Gregerson teaches American Poetry and Renaissance Literature at the University of Michigan, where she also directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing.View poet's page