Poetry Workshops at the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference

Gary Copeland Lilley

Erin Belieu has one spot left open in her July 8-15 workshop at the PTWC (Register) and Copper Canyon Press poet Gary Copeland Lilley and Ashley Capps also still have space available. Ashley will be here for two weeks: teaching classes both July 8-15 and July 15-22.

Gary Copeland Lilley [July 8-15] is a North Carolina native who earned his MFA from the Warren Wilson CollegeGary Copeland Lilley_Al McCleese Program for Writers. His publications include four books of poetry, of which the most recent is “Alpha Zulu”, from Ausable/Copper Canyon Press. He has taught poetry and creative writing in the scholar program of Young Chicago Authors, the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, and at Warren Wilson College. He has been a poet-in-residence at The Poetry Center of Chicago, and a visiting writer-lecturer at Colby College and at the Institute of American Indian Art.

Class Description:
“Your New Poems”
New poems. That’s right: a workshop and class that generates work, strong draft poems created and discussed by a roomful of writers. How do we sharpen our images, fine-tune the music in the language, and let the line show its well-defined muscle? Bring a draft poem or two with you to help get this started, but you will be expected to create a new draft poem every day. I might have a dynamo prompt up my sleeve, the skill of observation, of all our regions and terrains—current, past, and future—are really what informs our poetry. The goal of this class is to produce a set of draft poems to take home. Register.

Ashley Capps [July 8-15 and July 15-22]
Ashley-cappsAshley Capps was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first book of poems, Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields, was selected by Gerald Stern for the Akron Poetry Prize. Recent poems appear in APR and Boston Review. She is the recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry.

Class Description: 
“Encyclopoetics: getting the world into our poems, with a focus on the art of paying attention”
The modes and habits of modern life are such that many of our daily experiences occur mechanically, their sensory element lost; we drift through coffee and traffic and see without seeing, hear without hearing, touch without feeling. But art can help us (and help us help others) to recover the sensations of life, and in our workshop, we will explore the capacity of poetry to renew our physical senses, to amplify the processes of perception, to promote mindfulness, to recuperate empathy and a sense of connectedness, and to restore wonder. In addition to revising two previously written poems, you will have the opportunity to begin new pieces based on prompts we will undertake together.  We’ll have several activities based on ways of looking, including a nature walk (plant i.d.!); in-class microscope viewing (the bee’s knees! Literally.); etymological excavation (looking behind, and into, words); and for these and other activities I would like you to keep a special notebook: a noticing book, for thoughts and observations related to looking. We will also explore poetic and non-poetic forms, and devices for organizing observations and information into a poem, including encomium, syllabic stanzas, anaphora, field guides, indexes, and encyclopedias. We will also write poems in dialogue with poems and texts by other writers, including Walt Whitman, Christopher Smart, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Viktor Shklovsky, Wallace Stevens, Caroline Knox, the OED, Henry David Thoreau, Mary Ruefle, Gabriel Gudding, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Anne Carson, Juliana Spahr, and others.