Lynn Melnick

Undergraduate Discipline


BA, University of California at Santa Cruz. MFA, Columbia University. Melnick is the author of the memoir, I've Had to Think Up a Way to Survive: On Trauma, Persistence, and Dolly Parton. She is also the author of three poetry collections: Refusenik, the winner of the Julie Suk award and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award; Landscape With Sex and Violence, and If I Should Say I Have Hope. Her work has appeared in APR, LA Review of Books, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, A Public Space, and the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. Melnick has received grants from the Cafe Royal Cultural Society and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. She is a former fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. SLC, 2024–

Undergraduate Courses 2024-2025


Poetry Workshop: Feminist Poetry

Open, Seminar—Spring

In this poetry-writing workshop. we will focus on feminist poetry: what it is, where it’s been, and what’s next. Using each week’s reading assignments as inspiration, students will write poem drafts in the style of, or inspired by, poets across eras. We will begin with protofeminist poets like Phillis Wheatley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Christina Rossetti and then move on to works by poets writing in the decades before second-wave feminism, such as Gertrude Stein, Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, H.D., Sylvia Plath, and Gwendolyn Brooks. We’ll look at second-wave poets like Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, June Jordan, and Ai and then continue with the third-wave poets such as Lorna Dee Cervantes, Marilyn Chin, Joy Harjo, Danielle Pafunda, and Carmen Giménez Smith. Finally, we’ll read an array of emerging feminist voices, including Tarfia Faizullah, Chase Berggrun, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal. As we dive into the poetry, we will also look at the political and cultural movements surrounding women and feminism that influenced the poets writing in their era, including our own. Each week, students will be expected to read 50-100 pages and be prepared to discuss what they’ve read. Students will write poems based on a prompt inspired by the week’s reading, which we will workshop in class; a poetry portfolio of these revised assignments will be due at the end of the semester. Students may also write poems outside each week’s prompt and share these with me during our conferences.