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The Department of You

Sep 4
Sep 4
2:00 - 4:00 PM CST
Dare Williams
Online via Zoom
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America has many beautiful and cruel handshakes. How does living among systems affect us? What function do forms, petitions, and incident reports serve? This class is inspired by a discussion of poet Divya Victor's award-winning collection, CURB, which leads us to consider bureaucracy and what it means to be a citizen in this country.

Forms are a kind of paper border and cause stress, harm, and difficulty in achieving assistance. Even as they are an inescapable part of living, they can never fully render personhood. As Divya teaches us, they can fracture relationships and are meant to complicate and exhaust us. Or, as Paul Tran teaches us, how can we use the cold language of a report that steals emotions from an incident and distills it down to simple answers to questions on a statement, a formality for persuasion?

This workshop will explore poems that subvert forms and incident reports and illustrate poets living within systems. We will engage with poems by Divya Victor, Essex Hemphill, and Paul Tran. Reading will be followed by prompts that explore how we can shift power away from the cold clerical and into beautiful queer nuance.

Use code EARLYBIRD at checkout for 20% off through August 18!

Dare Williams (he/they) is a Queer HIV-positive poet and artist rooted in Southern California. A 2019 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, he has received support/fellowships for his work from John Ashbury Home School, The Frost Place, Brooklyn Poets, Breadloaf, and Tin House. He was the co-curator of the West Hollywood Literature Festival 2021. Dare’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best American Poets. His work has been featured in Foglifter, HAD, The Shore, Exposition Review, West Trade Review, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @Dare_Williams13 and

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