A Poetry Workshop: Why Are We Poets?
Lucille Clifton said: “In every room you enter, someone is going through something unbearable.” To bear our burdens alone is, in itself, unbearable. We are poets because we believe in listening, to others and to ourselves, to intensely query the self-other binary. We can’t walk someone else’s path, but we can swim towards each other. What does it mean to have compassion? Not to reduce compassionate possibility to technique: “persona” or “point of view” but to go deeper into the process of connection, the uses of rage, heartbreak, the fear of being oneself, and to revel and burn in the gorgeous weirdness of writing poems. How might our depths, our burdens, become work and light and song that others can see and hear and believe in? Both generative and a workshop.
Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of four poetry books, most recently So Much Synth and Our Andromeda. Her other books are Human Dark with Sugar and Interior with Sudden Joy. Her poems appeared in Best American Poetry, Harpers, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Penguin Book of Twentieth Century Poetry, and elsewhere. She’s a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow, and teaches at Rutgers University-Newark.