“I am ashamed of my century,” Frank O’Hara explains, “for being so entertaining but I have to smile.” In this one-week intensive course, students will mine speech acts — from Twitter to long-form interviews — by a public figure of their choosing to develop a portfolio of persona poems. An exercise in character development, we’ll discover ways of using public speech in poetry making, keeping a careful eye on the subtext, context, and urtext of our found texts. Part Andy Warhol, part Lady Gaga, the approach to this class is one of artistic appropriation, and students will leave with the tools to further develop their portfolio of persona poems into a longer project. At the end of the intensive, each student will receive a detailed email outlining strengths in their work and advice for moving the project forward.
D. Gilson is the author of I Will Say This Exactly One Time: Essays (Sibling Rivalry, 2015); Crush with Will Stockton (Punctum Books, 2014); Brit Lit (Sibling Rivalry, 2013); and Catch & Release (2012), winner of the Robin Becker Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Texas Tech University, and his work has appeared in POETRY, Threepenny Review, The Rumpus, and twice as a notable essay in Best American Essays.