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“love not gone anywhere”: Writing in Dialogue with Jean Valentine with Chen Chen (via Zoom)

October 1 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm


Jean Valentine (1934–2020) was/is one of the great contemporary US poets. Intensely concise and mysterious yet never overly abstract nor austere in the sense of emotionally withholding, Valentine’s work continues to influence—and more importantly, to move readers and writers deeply. In this generative workshop, we’ll read and discuss and write in response to the entirety of the second section of Valentine’s last book, Shirt in Heaven (Copper Canyon, 2015). This section, “Friend,” was originally published as a chapbook by Albion Books and is an extended elegy as well as an ode to friendship, a meditation on memory, dreams, a range of afterlives, and love. How does love persist? Why does it? Is love, as Dickinson puts it, at once “Posterior — to Death —“ and the “Initial of Creation”? What can Valentine’s uncompromising craft show us about what is fleeting, what is lasting, all that gleams in between? These, among other questions large and small, will animate our conversation and our experimentation. All readings will be provided via Google doc and PDF. Participants can expect to generate at least three new drafts. No prior knowledge of Valentine’s work is required here. Please come prepared to be wildly curious, to begin (again and again) in total wonder, and to go, as Valentine described it, “to the end of [your] rope for this thing.”

NB: This class will be taught on Zoom and will be capped at 15 students. Registrants will receive the Zoom link to the email address they use to register. It will arrive immediately after registration so please check your spam folder if you do not receive it. It will also be sent the day before class as a reminder. Please review the course policies page before registering for any classes. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

The scholarship application for the Altman Person of Color Scholarships, Limp Wrist LGBTQIA+ Scholarships, and the Need-Based Scholarships will be available on May 1 and will be due on May 15 for all summer and fall classes.

Chen Chen is the author of Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022) and the forthcoming book of essays, In Cahoots with the Rabbit God (Noemi Press, 2024). His debut book of poems, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. He teaches for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast.


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October 1
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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Hudson Valley Writers Center
Philipse Manor Station
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 United States
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