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Carmen et Error: Poetry Workshop

Dates: 7 Wednesdays, March 13 - May 8 (no class 3/27 and 4/17)  
Time: 7 pm - 9:30 pm 
Instructor: Miriam Bird Greenberg 
Ages: Adult 
Genre: Poetry
Price: $475

Ovid writes – quite cagily – about his time in exile, attributing it to carmen et error, “a poem and a mistake.” In this seven-week workshop for poets of all levels, we’ll dance with the mistakes in our work, using error (or at least the unexpected) as a way to productively destabilize our own creative process.


We’ll conduct this investigation through the lens of one of Ovid’s favorite subjects: love. Though you’re welcome to submit poetry of any theme or style for workshop, in our reading we’ll focus on poems of lovers queer and straight, of familial love, of gratitude and wonderment, and (as counterpoint and palate cleanser) poems of revenge, longing, and absence. Through them all, we’ll explore what makes poetry meant to convey strong emotion sing (and what makes it suck), while experimenting with the ways strange and unexpected digressions can make love and love poems – and their opposites – all too human. A sample of poets up for discussion include Elizabeth Bishop as well as young contemporaries Brandon Som, Ross Gay, and Solmaz Sharif. You’ll finish this class with a packet of freshly polished new poems, and additional first drafts borne of in-class writing exercises.

Miriam Bird Greenberg.jpg

Miriam Bird Greenberg is a poet and occasional essayist with a fieldwork-derived practice. The author of In the Volcano's Mouth, which won the 2015 Agnes Starrett Lynch Prize, and the chapbooks All night in the new country and Pact-Blood, Fevergrass, she's the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Poetry Foundation.


Miriam has written about the nomads, hitchhikers, and hobos living on America’s margins, and is currently at work on a fieldwork-derived manuscript about economic migrants and asylum seekers of Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions.


A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, Miriam was writer-in-residence at the National University of Singapore in 2017. She lives in Berkeley, where for many years she collaboratively developed site-specific performances for very small audiences. 

More about Miriam:

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