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Picnic, Lightning: Transformative Strategies for the Short Poem with Sharon Kennedy-Nolle

April 14 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm


“Picnic, Lightning”:  Transformative Strategies for the Short Poem

This workshop takes its cue from Vladimir Nabokov’s (in)famously concise description in Lolita: “My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three. . .”.   Through close reading, craft talk and workshopping, we will explore strategies for (re) structuring short poems written in both formalist and informalist styles.  These strategies include thematic elision, narrative compression, grammatical implosion, and syntactical collisions. Together, we will develop opportunities to transform the brief lyric into petite masterpieces of fresh insight, combustible concision.

Two weeks before class, please submit 3 poems (each less than 14 lines, please). to me via email.


Sharon Kennedy-Nolle holds several MFAs in poetry and poetics from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, New York University and the Writing Seminars of Johns Hopkins University as well as a doctoral degree from the University of Iowa. Her poetry has appeared or is upcoming in Chicago Quarterly Review,The Dickinson Review,Juked, Bluestem, Lindenwood Review, Delmarva Review, Menacing Hedge, FRIGG, OxMag, The Round, Schuylkill Valley Review, Storyscape, Streetlight Magazine, Talking River, Zoned,andWestchester Review,among others. Her latest book, Writing Reconstruction: Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the Postwar South(University of North Carolina Press, 2015) was chosen for UNC’s Gender and American Culture series while a collection of elegies, Black Wick, was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Tupelo Snowbound Chapbook Contest. She is a writing consultant at Iona College.




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April 14
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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Hudson Valley Writers Center
Philipse Manor Station
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 United States