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American Bodies and Political Poems

Feb 4
Mar 11
6 - 8 PM CT
Meg Wade
Online via Zoom
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“what a thing the body, what a citadel”  -Jorie Graham

The body is political—open any news source and see for yourself. Bodies allowed or not allowed in bathrooms, refugee bodies, murdered black bodies, bodies we must count after mass shootings or drone strikes or fatal illness. Our own bodies, which we must celebrate, in spite of everything. It is no surprise that more people turn to poetry in times of trauma, in times of war. There is good reason for it. Poets are closest to language, and language holds great power. The power to respond. The power to sing. The power to rise and give voice to the oppressed, the underrepresented.

In this generative workshop, we will shine a light on how contemporary poets are harnessing this power to speak and respond to the issues facing American bodies in our current day. Through our workshop, as well as generative writing exercises, we will delve into ways that we can respond, further investigate, and discover how language makes this possible. We will read examples from current poets like Jericho Brown, Solmaz Sharif, and Danez Smith, among others. We will look at how have these poets respond/begin a discussion of/bear witness to issues American bodies face within our current political climate. More importantly, we will ask ourselves, how can we?

Meg Wade is a National Poetry Series finalist and a former Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin's Creative Writing Institute. Her chapbook, Slick Like Dark, won the 2017 Snowbound Chapbook Award and is now out from Tupelo Press. Meg has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and is a co-curator of Be Witched, a literary and arts event series. You can find her poems online, as well as various print journals and anthologies. She lives and writes in Nashville, Tennessee.

What Our Students Say

Meg Wade was so encouraging and enthusiastic as a teacher. She was clearly so passionate about the materials, and was able to discuss the craft deeply and sharply. She lead workshops with incisive critiques that helped me reflect on my own work in new ways that have opened up new avenues for exploration of my art. Thank you!

Meg presented the material and models with great enthusiasm and created a really innovative exercise. She is so knowledgeable about poetry, but she knew just how much to feed us so that we could apply it to our own writing as a start.

Meg Wade packs a lot of learning and writing into her classes. Meg's choice of examples and our discussion deepened my understanding of prose poetry. The prompt and subsequent discussion of our writing inspired several of us to continue working on the pieces we began. This was an informative and motivating workshop, and Meg's style of facilitating is welcoming and skilled.

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