Workshop Descriptions

Note: Descriptions are in order of festival appearance.

Teresa Roberson, Spoken Word for Insomniacs
Friday, September 12th at 5:00 p.m.
In her Spoken Word for Insomniacs workshop, Roberson will guide you through writing exercises to transform agitating thoughts into compelling spoken word—so you too can sleep better, even in a Peruvian international airport.

Wade Martin, We Enter Touch Entirely: Exploring Voice Through Body
Friday, September 12th at 6:30 p.m.
What does it mean to ‘enter touch entirely?’ What is the relationship between our voice as writers and the way we write our bodies? In this workshop we’ll look at great poems that focus on the body (in whole or constituent parts) in order to enact desire, strength and joy in our own writing. We’ll also think about the body as a way to explore shared experiences, specifically those that center on or come from a place of femininity. There are no prerequisites for this workshop – just bring yourself, a pen, some paper, and your body.

Allyson Whipple, Toward an Inclusive Feminist Poetics
Saturday, September 13th, 9:00 a.m.
This discussion-based workshop was inspired by a conversation that cropped up at the 2013 Austin Feminist Poetry Festival, when some poets noted they’d found themselves questioning what it meant to be feminists, feminist allies, and feminist poets. We’ll touch briefly on some of the scholarship surrounding feminist poetics (don’t worry, no academic background required), addressing both its innovations and its limitations. Then, we’ll move into discussion, focusing on articulating ourselves as feminist/allies, and striving to define our own sense of feminist poetics in a way that is inclusive and meaningful.

Cheney Crow, Claiming Collective Wisdom
Saturday, September 13th at 10:30 a.m.
We write poetry to express what we feel individually. We read poetry to feel less separate. As poets, we bear witness to our worlds. In this workshop, we’ll look at different ways poets have integrated elements of “collective wisdom” with real or imagined first-person experience to create powerful poems. We’ll begin with a brief writing exercise that introduces the idea of “collective wisdom” and will lead us into the baker’s dozen of poems we’ll read and work from, by these poets: Jamaal May, Mary Szybist, James Franco, Anne Carson, Ilya Kaminsky, Charles Simic, Carolyn Forché, Frank Bidart, Mary Ruefle, Brian Turner, Marina Tsvetaeva, Yehuda Amichai, Laura Yes Yes. Each poem demonstrates a different method or degree of mixing the external world with a speaker’s experience. We’ll “brainstorm” on these techniques with prompts from each poem. With luck, one – or some – of these prompts, techniques, or poems, will add enough juice to your muse to get some new work going.

Dos Gatos Press, The Incredible Shrinking Poem
Saturday, September 13th at 2:00 p.m.
This is a both a drafting and a revision exercise based on two constraints: syllables per line and lines per poem. Participants will take a single poem through several drafts which require condensation (“shrinking”), and thus tightening of language, line-breaks, and thought. In the end, the workshop will offer a hands-on approach to inspiration through the art of reduction.

Natalia Treviño, More Than Just a Pretty Set of Words
Saturday, September 13th at 3:30 p.m.
Poets have been the philosophers of their day, not just because they can string words together nicely, or create vivid images with language, but because of what drives them to the page, to document that which makes a direct impact on the human spirit. In these documentations, poets have captured world history on macro and micro levels, blending the two, so that readers can see the large in the small, the forest and the trees, the significance of the seemingly insignificant. We will explore the why behind our poems, and go where workshops are often afraid to go, beyond the strong line break and beyond the control of image and metaphor, but to the point of the poem, its most powerful point, and work to enhance that point as we would strengthen a spine and central nervous system through the poetics inherent in the poem. We will tap that from which your work springs, and that which can create a revolution of ideas, which can change the world in the mind of a reader. Bring new or emerging work, one to three poems per person. We will listen, and assist each other to build on the powerful awe that inspired your work.

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