What You’re Willing to Discover
Yusef Komunkyakaa said, “Don’t write what you know. Write what you are willing to discover.” In this poetry workshop we’ll concentrate on writing toward the deep, difficult-to-reach poem, writing that relies on intuition, half-glimpsed inner visions—our truest, most essential take on the world. To get there we’ll go by hunch, by faith and duende, using the maps left by others in the form of poems. We’ll engage with ecstatic poetry, work that shares attributes with the mystical: the desire (and fear) of being broken open, of being known. We’ll find time for the anti-ecstatic as well, moments when the prayer fails, when what’s revealed is wild and unmanageable. Together, we’ll generate new work and workshop the writing that is most pressing to you. Overall, the emphasis will be on challenging habits of mind rather than polishing existing poems.
Please have at least 10 pages of current work, the writing that most attracts you but also resists completion, though we will also be generating new work each day.
Mark Conway’s most recent book of poetry, rivers of the driftless region, was published by Four Way Books in 2019. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Slate, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review Online, Ploughshares, the PBS NewsHour and Bomb. He teaches at The Loft in Minneapolis and lives in rural Minnesota.