What is happening when you begin to write a poem? What does it mean to be called to speech, to break into song? Why this, why now? How does the occasion of a poem lead you to write a poem in a certain way, and what avenues do you take to pursue or avoid this call? In this brief workshop, we will discuss a few poems that explore these questions, including poems by W.S. Merwin, C.D. Wright and Etheridge Knight. These discussions will lead us to write two new poems that investigate your calling. Each student will receive an email after the class is over, discussing their strengths and offering some individualized assignments for moving forward.
Poet Ed Skoog was born in Topeka, Kansas. He earned an MFA from the University of Montana. His collections of poetry include the chapbooks Toolkit (1995) and Field Recordings (2003) and the full-length volumes Mister Skylight (2009) and Rough Day (2013), both published by Copper Canyon Press. His poems have appeared in Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry, and many other magazines, and he was included in the 2015 Best American Poetry. The Harvard Review compared Skoog’s work to that of Wallace Stevens and the New York School poets, noting his “verbal montages.” Reviewer Henry Hughes added, “readers must surrender their demands for whole meaning in the narrative sense to enjoy the verbal play—the sounds, phrases, and crazy connections that suggest new ways of reading the world.” Skoog has taught at the Idyllwild Arts Foundation in Idyllwild, California, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and Tulane University. He has received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers Conference and The Lannan Foundation, and has been the Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Washington at George Washington University and writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House. He lives in Portland, Oregon. http://skoog.land