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The Good Constraint: a generative writing workshop with Donna Spruijt-Metz via Zoom

October 15, 2023 @ 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm


The generative constraint is a mainstay of poetry workshops and praxis. A ‘good’ constraint—one that works for you right now—is (paradoxically!) freeing. If a constraint feels like an itchy sweater, strip it off and toss it to someone else! In this generative workshop, we will briefly explore familiar generative constraints such as subject matter (write about your dog), poetic form (write a sestina), or the arbitrary required element (write a poem with a Reese’s peanut butter cup in it), but we will go beyond these to consider constraints that might be thought of as the flavor, geography, or maybe even the shoe size of a poem. An expansive list of existing constraints (the common as well as the arcane) will be provided. Participants will play with constraints, mash them up, generate their own constraints, and most importantly, write poems! Participants will work at speed—with some exercises only 1 minute, and some exercises 7 minutes or longer. Participants share their constraints and poems (or pass if they are uncomfortable reading to a group). The good constraint can be playful and surprising. We hope to play and surprise!

Donna Spruijt-Metz is a professor of Psychology and of Population and Public Health at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She is a recent MacDowell Fellow. Her poetry appears in Copper Nickel, the Tahoma Literary Review, Los Angeles Review, RHINO, The Cortland Review, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. Her chapbooks are Slippery Surfaces and And Haunt the World (with Flower Conroy, Ghost City Press). Her full length General Release from the Beginning of the World was published by Free Verse Editions in January 2023. Find her at @DSMPoet (twitter) or @donnasmetz (Instagram). Her website is https://www.donnasmetz.com


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October 15, 2023
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
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Hudson Valley Writers Center
Philipse Manor Station
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 United States
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