This is an exceptional opportunity for dedicated poets to focus on poetry as witness, reflection,and shelter, and to experience a vibrant international community of committed writers, journalists and thinkers gathered in response to the challenging dynamics of this COVID-19 pandemic period. In this master class we’ll look at individual poems and essays, such as Jacques Lusseyran’s “Poetry in Buchenwald,” that limn poetry’s consoling power in the face of loss, hardship or extremity. We’ll read Ellen Bryant Voigt’s Kyrie, a compelling mosaic of sonnets evoking the influenza pandemic of 1918-19, a little-recorded event that killed 25 million worldwide, half a million in America alone. We’ll workshop student-generated poems, with occasional prompts, both literary and visual. My emphasis as a workshop leader is on candor, risk-taking, sacred play and valuing one’s own work as a viable mirror—a source of self-wonder and revelation, even in the midst of our current pandemic and political upheavals.
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