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 (Pitt 2023). Recipient of The Sewanee Review’s Allen Tate Prize, The Georgia Review's Loraine Williams Prize, and a Rona Jaffe-Bread Loaf Scholarship, her work has been featured in such places as PBS NewsHour, AGNI, American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus and more. Born and raised in New Mexico, she is now an editor on her way from Kansas City to Seattle.