24PearlStreet Workshops and Events

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram Make it Sing, Make it Strange: A Summer Poetry Lab Poetry June 26 to July 21, 2017 Number of Participants: 15 Price: $500 Format: 4 Week Asynchronous Workshop

Into the laboratory we go! In this course we are going to utilize techniques and strategies to make our poems sing and to embrace the strange in the process. On the one hand, we will examine the craft of extended metaphor by looking at exemplary poems and mapping how metaphors are constructed. On the other we will experiment and explore strategies for moving the language in our poems away from the common, away from our easy-to-reach or go-to words and phrases. We will embrace strategies like translation, repetition, n+7, and others to create that “defamiliarization” so crucial to the surprise of poetry. These strategies can be used for both the invention and revision of poems.


Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is a 2014 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship. Her first book, But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise, was selected by Claudia Rankine as the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Award winner and published by Red Hen Press in 2012 and was a 2013 poetry nominee for the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award for outstanding works of literature published by people of African descent. Her second book, a slice from the cake made of air (Red Hen Press 2016) is available from Red Hen Press and was recently named one of the best poetry books of 2016 by Entropy Magazine. Her third book, personal science, is available from Tupelo Press. Winner of the 2012 Phantom Limb Press chapbook contest, her chapbook cutthroat glamours was published in 2013. She is one-sixth of the poetry collective, Line Assembly. She has been in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, the Montana Artists’ Refuge, has received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Bread Loaf Writers’ and is the recipient of a United States Embassy grant for a writing residency at the Ventspils Writers’ & Translators House in Ventspils, Latvia, in 2014. The 2009-2011 Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow at Williams College, her poetry, prose, photography, and digital stories have received numerous awards and have appeared widely in journals such as Black Warrior Review, Callaloo, Cream City Review, Court Green, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, jubilat, Mid-American Review, Narrative Magazine, OH NO, Subtropics, Sou’wester, Tupelo Quarterly, Twelfth House, and more. She holds degrees in creative writing from the University of Utah, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Carnegie Mellon University. She was the Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at St. Lawrence University for 2015-2016 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at UMASS Boston.

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