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Through (Not Beyond) Identity: Poetry Workshop

Date: Saturday, April 21 
Time: 10 am - 3 pm (with one-hour lunch break) 
Instructor: Charif Shanahan
Ages: Adult 
Maximum Enrollment: 9
Genre: Poetry
Price: $150

In this one-day workshop, we will consider the role our personal and collective identities play in the poems that we make. In the morning, we will examine poems "about identity"--ethnic and racial, gender/sexuality, cultural, national, religious, and so on. By focusing on poems about identity--that is, poems that would seem to pronounce our differences--we will create a space that centers our shared humanity, through empathy, intuition, and compassion. We will discuss poems by Lucille Clifton, Mahmoud Darwish, Safia Elhillo, Essex Hemphill, W.S. Merwin, Rajiv Mohabir, Sharon Olds, and Natasha Trethewey, emphasizing the use of rhetoric, form, and image in the poems.


In the second half of class, we will workshop our own poems, about whatever themes interest or obsess us (love, family, loss/grief, mortality, and so on), then close the day with a few generative writing exercises, keeping a collective eye on the vantage points from which we live. 

Music of the Mind

Charif Shanahan is the author of Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing (SIU Press, 2017), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Called a "vital and profound new voice" by Publishers Weekly, Shanahan has published poems in various journals, including the New RepublicNew York Times Magazine, PBS NewsHour, Poem-a-Day of the Academy of American Poets, Poetry International, and Prairie Schooner, which awarded him the Edward Stanley Poetry Award.


Charif holds degrees in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and Dartmouth College and an MFA in Poetry from New York University. He is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Cave Canem Foundation, the Frost Place, the Fulbright Program/IIE, Millay Colony for the Arts, and Stanford University. Former Programs Director of the Poetry Society of America, he has taught creative writing, literature, and language at Dartmouth College, the Collegio di Milano (Italy), International House (Europe, North America), New York University, and Stanford University, where he is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry.

More about Charif:

Author Photo Credit: Justin Hoch

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