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The Architecture of a Poem

Sep 25
Sep 25
2 - 5 PM Central
Joy Priest
Online via Zoom
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In his book, Structure and Surprise, Michael Theune distinguishes structure from form, saying: "poetic structure is, simply, the pattern of a poem's turning.” He argues that the distinguishing feature of a good poem is surprising turns. Elsewhere, poets have talked about the architecture of a poem as the relationship between form and content. In that sense, the pattern of a poem’s turning could be said to be the form that it requires to function. In this single-session class, we will look at several kinds of turns, excavate the “blueprint” of some oft-discussed poems, and examine the architecture of the poems that we, ourselves, have been working on. Ultimately, this workshop will reveal a new approach to revision.

(Note: please bring a poem that you have been working on.)

Joy Priest is the author of Horsepower (Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), selected as the winner of the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry by U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. She is the recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a 2019-2020 Fine Arts Work Center fellowship, and the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from the American Poetry Review. Her poems have appeared in such publications as the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, The Atlantic, and Virginia Quarterly Review; her essays have appeared in The Bitter Southerner, ESPN, and Poets & Writers; and her work has been anthologized in Best New Poets 2014, 2016, and 2019, The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop (Haymarket Books, 2015), and A Measure of Belonging: 21 Writers of Color on the New American South (Hub City Press, 2020).  A Louisville, Kentucky native, Joy is currently editing an anthology of Louisville poets, which will be published by Sarabande Books.

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