Poetry as Bewilderment
This workshop is part of our Poetry Festival.
Frost once said: Poems are about what you don’t mean as well as what you do mean. In our week together I would like to examine this idea by thinking about the concept of “bewilderment” and how it gets acted out in our poems—either through syntax, our access to the duende, leaps into the unconscious, or simply circling around what is unsaid, unknown, unrealized. This will be a generative workshop, in the sense that we will look closely at work brought in to find ways to transform it, go deeper. To this end please plan to arrive with 10-20 pages of work in various states of completion, from polished to rough sketches—it doesn’t have to all be “poetry.” We will look for those moments we begin to stutter and stumble when talking about our poems, or in the poems themselves, for these are the thresholds beyond which is unknown, beyond which is the white space on the map. Over the course of our week together we will attempt to push a little deeper into this shadow world.
Nick Flynn has worked as a ship’s captain, an electrician, and as a case-worker with homeless adults. He is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently I Will Destroy You. He is also the author of a play, Alice Invents a Little Play and Alice Always Wins, and the memoir trilogy The Ticking is the Bomb, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, and The Reenactments. He has two books forth-coming, the multi-media retrospective Stay: A Self-Portrait (March 2020) and the memoir This Is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire (August 2020).