Though poetry doesn’t require plot to shape it, as writers we’re naturally drawn to others’ compelling stories. What, then, can we learn from engaging deeply with the lived experiences of others? This class will explore how the particular dynamics and constraints of poetry can be used to provide a lens not only on the life of and times of those we’re uncovering, but can provide clarity to our own experiences as well. We’ll discuss our responsibilities to both truth and Truth, looking at work by such writers as Marilyn Nelson, Tyehimba Jess, Van Jordan, and Natasha Trethewey to examine how verse and research can intersect and inform each other.
Erin Adair-Hodges is the author of Let’s All Die Happy, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and Every Form of Ruin, both from the Pitt Poetry Series. Recipient of the Allen Tate Prize and the Loraine Williams Poetry Prize, her work has been featured in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, PBS NewsHour, Ploughshares, Sewanee Review, and more. She has received fellowships and scholarships from the Adirondack Center for Writing, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Sewanee Writers Conference, and Vermont Studio Center. Born and raised in New Mexico, she now lives with her family in Kansas City, Missouri.