Close Reading into Enlightened Writing: Generating Poems after Louise Glück & Jericho Brown


We’ll take a patient look at two revered American poets, spending a day on each of these marvelous lyricists, specifically poems from the collections The Wild Iris and The Tradition.  Both poets generate layered and complex poems that don’t shy away from vulnerability, that openly court and create beauty in both image and music, and that bravely face what’s unknown, bewildering, and even violent in both real and imagined landscapes.  In training our focus and collective attention to styles and subject matter present in a handful of poems, we'll translate our close reading and appreciation into multiple drafts of poems that both borrow from our reading and bear our own singular stamp.

On Saturday we’ll start with some poems from the 2020 Nobel Prize winner’s 1992 collection, The Wild Iris.  We’ll read the poems through a writer’s lens: how does this poet use voice, image, metaphor, music, and structure to create its effects on a reader? And how might we play with such effects in our own poems? We’ll then roll up our sleeves and generate our own poems off of what we discover and discuss from our reading. Sunday, we’ll turn to The Tradition, the 2020 winner of the Pulitzer Prize and continue with a similar day of reading into writing. Students are encouraged to purchase the collections by each poet prior to arriving in Iowa City, as I’ll ask participants to read a few poems by each poet before we meet – that way we can hit the ground running!  Lovers of poetry at all levels of experience are welcome.

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments.

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