Studying a single poet's work in depth can provide us insight into how obsessions and resonant sources shape our verse. Over decades, Jorie Graham's syntax has developed into a singular expression unique in our literature; hers is a work obsessed with disjunction, parataxis, and association, all of it driven by a syntax rich in inversion, complexity, and nuance. We will read and study some of Graham's more inventive poems during our first week and then turn our attention toward miming her work via writing exercises in our second week. Join us as we explore the work of one of American poetry's titans.
Gary McDowell's Aflame won the 2019 White Pine Press Poetry Prize and is forthcoming in Fall 2020. He is also the author of Caesura: Essays (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2017) and Mysteries in a World that Thinks There Are None (Burnside Review Press, 2016), among other books. His poems and essays have appeared in journals such as American Poetry Review, The Nation, Ploughshares, New England Review, and The Southern Review.
"Gary McDowell was an encouraging, knowledgeable and generous instructor. In his class, I not only learned much more about the technical aspects of writing a poem than I had known before but with his help, was inspired to infuse certain of my poems with greater clarity and strength."
"Encyclopedic knowledge of modern American poetry, willing to share what he has learned about writing itself, which is considerable and worthwhile, all this remarkably without ego; Gary creates a stimulating supportive space to learn."
"Gary set a great workshop tone. He was totally supportive and inclusive, expertly steering discussion but also talking to us as peers. He had things to add, but was never overbearing. I loved his way of instructing and would take a class from him again!"