April Poetry Symposium

April 10-13, 2014
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend

With Joseph Stroud
Register online

(Re)Voicing the Poem

Every poem has its own unique voice, a sound and tonal quality that is established within the opening lines and thence embodied in the poem. What this voice is, exactly, is elusive and difficult to talk about, but like certain melodies, we know a strong or distinctive voice when we hear it. One could say that voice is an amalgam of tone, sound/music, rhythm/cadence, rhetoric, diction, syntax, style, and point of view that make up the unique signature of the poem, what Jane Hirshfield calls the poem’s body language, or put another way, is the poem’s voice-print which is as distinct as a fingerprint and can belong to no one else.Joseph Stroud, Tor House 2004

We tend to think of voice in the poem as something inviolate, noli me tangere, not to be meddled with, unchangeable. Well, maybe. But what if it were possible to influence or alter the voice in a poem— what might be gained, what would be lost?

This workshop will attend to the presence of voice in poems, what it is and how it works, and we will also explore ways in how voice might be changed or manipulated and what effect this would have on the poem.

Tuition: $375; optional Fort housing: $300

Joseph Stroud

Joseph Stroud is the author of five books of poetry: “In the Sleep of Rivers,” “Signatures,” “Below Cold Mountain,” “Country of Light,” and “Of this World: New and Selected Poems.” His work has earned a Pushcart Prize and in 2006 he was selected by the Poet Laureate of the United States for a Witter Bynner Fellowship in Poetry from the Library of Congress. In 2011, he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and have been featured in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, as well as on National Public Radio. His most recent book, “Of this World,” received the San Francisco Poetry Center Book of the Year Award, and was also a finalist for the PEN Literary Award USA, the Commonwealth California Book of the Year, and the Northern California Book of the Year. He taught writing and literature at Cabrillo College for thirty-five years, and divides his time between Santa Cruz on the California coast and a cabin at Shay Creek in the Sierra Nevada.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • 6-8 pm: Welcome gathering and introductions

Friday, April 11, 2014

  • 9 am–noon: Class session
  • Afternoon: Participant writing time
  • 7:30 pm: Faculty reading

Saturday, April 12, 2014

  • 9 am–noon: Class session
  • Afternoon: Individual consultations
  • 7:30 pm: Participant reading

Sunday, April 13, 2014

  • 11 am: Departure for those staying in Fort housing