Finishing a book of poems focused on a topic, rather than a loose aggregation, is a particular art. Some poets unify books by form or voice as well as subject (such as Ellen Bryant Voigt’s Kyrie, Frank X Walker’s Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, Martha Collins’ White Papers, or Derek Walcott’s Omeros), others want multiple voices and modes of speech to thread their work (think of Alexandra Teague’s The Wise and Foolish Builders, Sean Hill’s Blood Ties and Brown Liquor, or Melinda Mueller’s What the Ice Gets). This workshop is for poets who want to deeply consider the project book as a form, and work toward their own. Poets who have a start on a manuscript/idea and now want to step back and see what needs to be done to add, subtract, link, and tweak it into a final whole. Focusing each week on close discussions of a collection, we will work together and read each other’s work, seeking where to pull things closer, where to add breath and variation. We will read and discuss “project books” by other writers we admire and hone our understanding of the concept as a whole and stake out our own aesthetic terrain.
Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of five collections, most recently Toward Antarctica and Theorem, a collaboration with artist Antonia Contro. Cascadia: A Field Guide Through Art, Ecology and Poetry will be published in 2023. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, and her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize and a Stegner Fellowship. Founder of Broadsided Press, Bradfield works as a naturalist/guide and teaches creative writing at Brandeis University. www.ebradfield.com