Movement is a poet’s dialect: we pace the room of each stanza, we shuttle our readers across & down the page, & we reach inside them & rearrange the furniture. Even our metaphors have a vehicle to transport the tenor to & from. Isn’t revision, too, a kind of effort to get somewhere?
In establishing her traveling scholarship, Amy Lowell emphasized the importance of travel on a poet’s life. But seeing new landscapes hardly requires a boarding pass abroad. What makes you a local except that you understand how here is so thoroughly not there? Our personal geographies can be just as—if not far more—intricate & worthy of exploration as the topography of a country other than your own.
Using the poetry of place—pastoral, urban, corporeal, & emotional—this one-week intensive workshop will explore themes of exodus, exile, & pilgrimage. We will consider more closely what it means for a poet to be “at home” in their work vs “at home” in the world & whether the two can be rectified on the page. Can a poem be in situ? Will our poems suffer gentrification like our neighborhoods? Do all roads lead home? Is home a place you can touch—the body, the earth—or a feeling like hiraeth, which indicates “home” may never have existed at all?
Daily prompts will ask you to engage in archiving, mythmaking, tributes, & radical genealogy. Through a series of exercises & experiments, we will write poems that respond to the sharp edges & soft yields of space-making as a craft. Together, we will use place as a seismograph with which to gauge the sociohistorical implications of poetry on one’s ability to experience stillness in a world relentlessly in motion.
In addition to submitting work, you will be expected to comment on 1-2 of your classmates’ experiments daily. At the end of the course, I will conduct one-on-one conversations with each student via email to discuss further revisions and how to move forward.
Meg Day is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street 2014), winner of the Barrow Street Poetry Prize and the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award. Day is Assistant Professor of English & Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College and lives in Lancaster, PA