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The Living Voice: Building a Poem’s Unique Speaker with Yerra Sugarman (via Zoom)

May 20 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm


In this poetry workshop, we’ll explore the distinctive qualities of a poem in relation to its speaking voice: the characteristics exhibited by a poetic speaker or narrator, and the actual poet behind them. How does the element called “voice” connect a reader and a poem’s speaker, establishing a relationship between them? How does this “voice” excite us, engage us, and reveal how the speaker in the poem thinks, feels, and lives?  As the poet Tony Hoagland once observed, “A poem strong in the dimension of voice is an animate thing of shifting balances, tones, and temperature, by turns intimate, confiding, vulgar, distant, or cunning—but, above all, alive.” In this workshop, we’ll examine and generate poems that are memorable in terms of how “voice” holds them together as their connective tissue.

Yerra Sugarman is the author of the poetry collections Aunt Bird (Four Way Books, 2022); The Bag of Broken Glass (Sheep Meadow Press, 2008), poems from which received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship; and Forms of Gone (Sheep Meadow Press, 2002), which won PEN American Center’s PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. Her other honors include a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, a Canada Council for the Arts Grant for Creative Writers, the Poetry Society of America’s George Bogin and Cecil Hemley Memorial Awards, a Chicago Literary Award, and a “Discovery”/The Nation Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Colorado Review, The Nation, AGNI, Prairie Schooner, New England Review and elsewhere. She earned an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University, and a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. She lives in New York City.


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May 20
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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