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Who Are You: The Lyric Relationship with Elizabeth Metzger (via Zoom)
November 19 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm$124.00
On the page and off, words are central to the way we build a world between ourselves and others. We imagine another’s interior and perform our own until we have created a third thing: a relationship—or the poem. Beyond the transformation of sound and sense, image and idea, the most essential metaphor of poetry is the one that turns utterance into a relationship.
Beginning with excerpts from Martin Buber’s “I and Thou,” Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic, and Lorca’s essay on Duende along with poems (a packet of models may include Sappho, Dante, Dickinson, Lucille Clifton, Marie Howe, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Paul Tran, Max Ritvo, Frank Bidart, Jean Valentine, Anne Carson, Layli Long Soldier, Paul Celan, Franz Wright, Galway Kinnell, Ocean Vuong, and Denis Johnson among others), we will think about the lyric poem in terms of relationships—a speaker and a reader, yes, but also the spiritual visitation, the dreamed figment, the various conflicting voices within us, the beloved, the longed for, the lost other, and any other numinous, animate, dead, otherworldly, demonic, alter-ego, desired, and inanimate addressees.
By examining different approaches to the I/thou relationship, we will take time to explore the relationships we have desired and/or struggled to bring into language. In practicing new techniques, we may even discover new or ongoing relationships with others (and parts of ourselves) who want to listen or be heard. Whether you are writing love poems, devotional poems, or elegies, we will talk about the effects of swerves in voice, the various qualities and powers of rhetorical gestures (the question and command), and internal shifts in perspective to deepen, expand, challenge, thwart, complicate, or heighten the intensity and intimacy of the relationship at stake.
Finally, we will consider the relationships between poems (as in the arrangement of a manuscript) and revision techniques that foreground relationship, even relationships you might now know are eager to enter your poems. Revising old work and writing new work with a focus on transformative relationships, you will enter into and expand your relationship with your reader and yourself as a writer.
NB: This craft class will be held on Zoom. It will be capped at 15students. Scholarship information will be available in July and will be be due on August 1st. Please read the course policies page before signing up for any of our workshops.
Elizabeth Metzger is the author of Bed (Tupelo Press, 2021) winner of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize, selected by Mark Bibbins; The Spirit Papers (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017), winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry; and the chapbook The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (Horsethief Books, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Nation, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. Her prose has appeared in Conjunctions, Literary Hub, Guernica, and Boston Review. She is a poetry editor at The Los Angeles Review of Books.