“Everything is an event for those who know how to tremble…” wrote the French poet and judge Jean Follain (translated here by Heather McHugh). Too often we are at a loss for what to write about, thinking that our subjects must be grand or address some supreme truth. However, the world around us is vast and brimming with events which can lead us to greater intimacy and deeper insight, and help us find joy in the unadorned and humble. What events occur around you every day that you don’t take time to see? How do we uncover the poetry in the mundane? What makes a poem memorable versus simply a list of quirky observations? This generative workshop will address these questions and urge us to create a habit of close looking, slow walking, and deep engagement with the world we inhabit that we can carry with us into the new year. It will include writing prompts, close reading practice, approaches to editing and always an opportunity to share the work we write. Readings will include poems by Wislawa Szymborska, Jean Follain, Jean Valentine, Fernando Pessoa, Patrick Rosal, Aracelis Girmay, and others. Please note that this is a rigorous workshop with assignments or exercises due every other day. Participants will be expected to generate work while also devoting time to giving feedback to their peers.
Curtis Bauer is the author of three poetry collections, most recently American Selfie (Barrow Street Press, 2019), published in Spanish translation as Selfi Americano by Vaso Roto Ediciones. His forthcoming translations include the novel Your Steps on the Stairs by Antonio Muñoz Molina (Other Press, 2024) and the short story collection The Names of the Things That Were There: Stories by Antonio Skármeta (Other Press, 2023). He is the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant and a Banff International Literary Translation Centre fellowship. His translation of Jeannette Clariond’s Image of Absence won the International Latino Book Award for Best Nonfiction Book Translation from Spanish to English. Bauer teaches creative writing and comparative literature at Texas Tech University.