Nicole Sealey on the Craft of Poetry – What is a Perfect Poem and Why is it Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “Song”?

Slonim Living Room / Stone Room

Open to the public

/ Thursday


This in-person Zoom viewing gathering is open to current students, faculty, and staff. Other members of the SLC community are welcome to view the event on Zoom by registering here.

There are so many good poems. There are, however, very few perfect poems. While we understand perfection is subjective and unachievable, why is Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “Song” a favorite, a perfect poem among poets? This craft talk examines “Song,” its leaps, sounds, images, digressions, syntax and embellishments, eight years in the making. Understanding the forces behind this beloved poem can give us strategies for writing our very own perfect poem.

Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast, finalist for the PEN Open Book and Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her honors include the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, the 2021 Granum Foundation Prize, a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial and Poetry International Prizes, as well as fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, Cave Canem, The Hermitage Artist Retreat, MacDowell, the National Endowment and New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry 2018 and 2021. She is a visiting professor at Boston University and teaches in the MFA Writers Workshop in Paris program at New York University.