2011 Poetry Classes

We have a plethora of poetry workshops scheduled at Centrum for 2011. Leading off is the sold-out April 14-17 Poetry Symposium, but the 2011 Port Townsend Writers’ Conference will have more poetry workshops than ever before in our thirty-eight-year history.

In addition to the two morning workshops (below) still open for registration, the afternoon workshop series features selections in a wide variety of special poetic topics.

Morning classes

Cate Marvin‘s first book of poems, “World’s Tallest Disaster,” was chosen by Robert Pinksy for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and published by Sarabande Books in 2001. In 2002, she received the Kate TuftsCatemarvin Discovery Prize. She is co-editor with poet Michael Dumanis of the anthology “Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century.” Her second book of poems, “Fragment of the Head of a Queen,” for which she received a Whiting Award, appeared in 2007. She teaches poetry writing at Columbia University’s MFA program and Lesley University’s low-residency MFA program, and is an associate professor in creative writing in the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.

Class Description: “How to Duke It Out With Stubborn Poems…and Win.”
Our best poems are hard-won. Such poems often arrive to us at a point in our writing lives when we are technically unable to articulate the visions they demand of us, emotionally and formally. Such poems resist even our fiercest attempts to craft them into a final product. This workshop will tackle such “problem poems,” as learning how to re-approach the work we find most difficult to “finish” is an important lesson for any serious writer.  Such an undertaking requires us to renegotiate the means by which we re-envision our work. Bring three different versions of a “problem poem,” by which I mean a poem that has vexed its writer for some time. The goal of this course is to provide the writer with direction in reimagining and ultimately achieving the completion of intellectually and emotionally ambitious poems. Register.

Carl phillipsCarl Phillips is the author of 11 books of poetry, most recently “Speak Low,” a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award, and Double Shadow, to be published in 2011. He has also written a book of prose, “Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry.” His awards and honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and awards and fellowships from the Library of Congress, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Academy of American Poets, to which he was named a Chancellor in 2007. Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis. Register.

Class Description: In this workshop, bring work that you feel needs a jumpstart. Each day, we will look at poems I’ll provide, with an eye to different strategies of repetition and how they inform and structure the poem – we will then apply those strategies to our own poems, as a way of revisiting them, re-seeing them, through another lens. I will also provide prompts each day for the following day, as an optional exercise. In addition to three pieces in need of revision, bring a poem by someone else, that you feel is an example of a successful poem – and be prepared to discuss why. 

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