Comedy and poetry have much in common. They both transform highly subjective sensory experiences into transcendent social responses. And they both create surprise—the Yahtzee of all social responses—which motivates us to re-engage with increasingly complex tasks and environments. In this generative workshop, we will explore theories of how humor works alongside examples of comedic poems and poetic stand-ups. In daily exercises, we will test drive rhetorical tools used by stand-ups and humor writers such as exaggerations, self-depreciation, contradictions, and meta-statements, which can move your readers from laughter to awe.
Jennifer L. Knox’s most recent book of poetry is CRUSHING IT (Copper Canyon Press, 2019). Her poems have appeared five times in The Best American Poetry series, as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Granta, and American Poetry Review.