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Writing the Poem of Comfort:

Virtual Poetry Workshop

Dates: 4 Wednesdays, June 3 - 24 
Time: 6 - 8 pm (Pacific Coast Time)
Instructor: Jay Deshpande
Ages: Adult 
Genre: Poetry 
Price: $245

To loosely paraphrase the humorist Finley Peter Dunne, the role of art is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. Especially in times of upheaval (like 2020), people find their way to poetry in search of some balm when the world feels unmanageable. But this isn’t just a matter of greeting-card cliché or easy truism: writers can achieve that feeling of comfort with specific methods and rhetorical principles.


In this four-week virtual workshop, conducted on Zoom, we’ll read poems that move us toward a feeling of connection, tenderness, and deeper peace. We’ll think about them analytically, identifying the recipes that poets use to give the reader succor. And we’ll try our hand at writing and revising our own poems using these methods.


Readings will include Mary Oliver, Jack Gilbert, Jane Hirshfield, Naomi Shihab Nye, Danez Smith, Marie Howe, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ross Gay, and more. Students will leave the class with four new poems and a host of methods for approaching revision. 


Jay Deshpande is the author of Love the Stranger and The Rest of the Body (both from YesYes Books) and the forthcoming The Umbrian Sonnets (PANK). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, New England Review, AGNI, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere.


Jay is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry, the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award, a Kundiman fellowship, and residencies at Civitella Ranieri and Saltonstall Arts Colony. He has taught poetry at Brooklyn Poets, Stanford, and Columbia. He lives in San Francisco.

More about Jay:

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