“What grows in that place is possessed of a beauty all its own, ramshackle and unexpected.”
– Campbell McGrath, “The Prose Poem”
Poetry’s history is one of change, of expansion in and out of new forms, purposes, contexts. It wasn’t too long ago that it broke the binds of meter to create vers libre and to mate with prose, and recent years have brought both greater acceptance of hybrid forms like the prose poem and verse novel, as well as the proliferation of new genres like digital and video poetry and text art.
In this weeklong generative workshop, we’ll challenge ourselves to push against genre boundaries. We’ll explore hybrid forms such as the prose poem and verse essay, experiment with how poetry can include visual elements such as images, collage, and typographic shapes, and gain inspiration from burgeoning genres like videopoetry and “poetry comics.” However, while we’ll look at and discuss examples along the way, the goal will be not only to practice writing in existing hybrid forms, but also to surprise ourselves by what glorious new beasts might emerge from the forge. Each student will receive an email at the end of the course, outlining some ideas for how to move forward.
Sarah Rose Nordgren is the author of Best Bones (2014), winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and Darwin’s Mother (2017), a finalist for the 2018 Ohioana Book Award, both from University of Pittsburgh Press. Her poems and essays appear widely in periodicals such as Agni, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review Online, Copper Nickel, and American Poetry Review, and she creates video and performance text art in collaboration with Kathleen Kelley under the name Smart Snow. Among her awards are two winter fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and fellowships and scholarships from the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Conferences, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Nordgren holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA in poetry from University of North Carolina Greensboro, and a PhD in English and Creative Writing from University of Cincinnati where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She currently lives in Cincinnati.