MFA, Columbia University. Poet, Brooklyn poet laureate, and author of Half-Lit Houses and Of Gods & Strangers; co-editor of the anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry From the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (W.W. Norton, 2008). Poems have appeared in American Poet, McSweeney’s, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Quarterly West, and Sonora Review, among others. Recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, The Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, Poets & Writers, and The Van Lier Foundation, among others. SLC, 2005–
Current undergraduate courses
The word “hybrid” comes from the Latin hybrida, which means mongrel, a creature of mixed breed. The tradition of poetry is widening, drawing from many art forms, blending and fusing to create contemporary cross-pollinated forms. In this class, we will explore the many ways in which poetry is increasingly a hybrid beast as innovative and exciting projects are envisioned across the genres. We will discuss the process by which poets collaborate with visual artists, filmmakers, choreographers, and dramatists; and we will practice the poem-as-essay, poem-as-tweet, dramatic monologue, prose poem, ekphrastic poem, mosaic poem, erasure, collage, comic and graphic novel, and the many formal experiments that make the current environment of poetry so eclectic. Students will read a book a week, studying the collaborative efforts of poets such as Anne Carson, Mark Doty, Harmony Holiday, Matthea Harvey, Claudia Rankine, Bianca Stone, and Karen Green, among many others. Class work will comprise student writing and critique, linguistic adventure, wild meanderings, and manifestos in order to understand future possibilities for one’s own poems. Students will have the opportunity to meet and converse with established poets whose work we will study. The class culminates in an optional public reading at KGB Bar in Lower Manhattan.
Poetry is oftentimes driven by a mysterious force that prompts the imaginative writer to rebel, disobey, lie, tell fantastic truths, subvert, make new, or forge an entirely new path in a way that feels both expansive and combustible. The first semester will concentrate on in-class writing and critique, poetic experiments, wild meanderings, and manifestos anchored by choice readings of poems and essays. The second semester will ground the student by delving into individual books that will help the writer become more knowledgeable about the history in which they are a part. A book a week will be read, followed by in-depth discussions on craft, style, voice, vision, structure, and song. Poets that we will read include John Berryman, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Amiri Baraka, Gertrude Stein, Jose Garcia Villa, James Dickey, Anne Carson, Albert Goldbarth, Lucie Brock-Broido, Lucille Clifton, and others. Students are expected to write and read consistently, to experiment, and to be passionate about creation. Take-home assignments will accompany readings. Two revision portfolios will be due during each semester. Students will have the opportunity to meet and converse with established poets whose work we will be studying in the spring semester.
This workshop is intended for writers who are interested in sensual detail (relating to, or drawing from, the five senses), with the understanding that poetry cannot exist without spirit, soul, shadow, duende, intuition. In the first portion of the class, we concentrate on image, feeling, narrative, persona, memory, monologue, witness. The other half of the class is devoted to poetic devices, formal strategies, structure, rhythm, sound. During the first semester, we practice traditional forms: sonnet, sestina, pantoum, ghazal, haiku; in the second semester, we move toward modernized and invented forms: the contemporary zuihitsu, the pecha kucha, the bop, erasure, reverse consonance, xocercism, and hybrid forms combining poetry and visual art—all the while moving toward your own individualized form(s). Students are expected to write and read consistently, experiment, and be passionate about creation. Students will have the opportunity to meet and converse with established poets whose work we’ll be studying. The class culminates in an optional public reading in Manhattan (KGB Bar).