“There is no person without a world,” writes Anne Carson in Autobiography of Red. But why must the world we create in our poems be a “realist” carbon copy of our own? Isn’t poetry a place where anything is possible? Metaphors and similes create meanings that both are and are not true. “The fog comes on little cat feet…” – yes, but also, no. I’m interested in how the techniques of genre fiction and wild imagination can enhance our poetry, and how, through employing a specific lens and tapping into well-known conventions, we can use a myth, an apocalypse, a ghost story, or a hard-boiled detective voiceover to express ourselves even more accurately than we ever could just by speaking plain.
In this workshop, we will look at genre-informed approaches to poetry, from the Science Fiction in Modern Life (Matthea Harvey) and Soft Science (Franny Choi), to the true crime in Hot with the Bad Things (Lucia LoTempio) and The Dream Songs (John Berryman), to Fairy Tales in Down: The Alice Poems (Erin Elizabeth Smith) and H & G (Anna Maria Hong).
This workshop is a generative workshop, meaning that we will orient our time together toward ensuring that you have the space, attention, and inspiration to produce new poems on a weekly basis. We will have time for two workshop rounds at the end of the “semester,” but the overall purpose of this course will be creating and nurturing new work or new revisions of pre-existing work. I am especially invested in making sure that, no matter how busy or anxious your outside life is, once you’re connected to our zoom room for class, you will find yourself writing.
For those interested in seeing their work in print, this course will also cover topics pertinent to the writing community including poetry contests, submission processes, cover letters, and pathways to publication.
All are welcome to join this class—including experimental/lyric flash and micro prose writers along with poets of all persuasions. If you are daring enough to have an imagination, you will be at home here. No matter how long you’ve been writing, how much or how little you’ve created to date, you will find community and support in this workshop.
CAIT WEISS ORCUTT’s work has appeared in Boston Review, Chautauqua, FIELD, and more. Her poems were nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and Best New Poets 2016, and her manuscript VALLEYSPEAK (Zone 3, 2017) won Zone 3 Press’ First Book Award and an IPPY Award for Poetry. Cait teaches creative writing at the University of Houston, Inprint, the Menil Collection, and the Jewish Community Center, and narrative medicine for Harris Country healthcare professionals. She is the recipient of an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor/MD Anderson Foundation Fellowship.
Cait Weiss Orcutt is the author of VALLEYSPEAK, winner of the 2017 Zone 3 First Book Prize. She holds an MFA from The Ohio State University and is a PhD candidate at the University of Houston in English Literature and Creative Writing. Her essays and poems have appeared in Boston Review, Bust Magazine, Chautauqua, FIELD, The Pinch, The Academy of American Poets and more. Currently based in the Midwest, Cait leads poetry and creative nonfiction writing workshops centered on identity, history, intersectionality and healing. She is the recipient of a UH College of Arts and Letters Dissertation Completion Fellowship and an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor/MD Anderson Foundation Fellowship.