Writers talk a lot about form. But what is it, and how does it work? What can poets, especially, teach us about the shape our writing takes—be it a poem, an essay, a work of fiction, or a piece that challenges traditional genre boundaries? In this 10-week writing workshop, we will look to poets and other writers who are masterfully deliberate with form to learn to make the “how” of our writing work as hard for us as the “what.” We will consider the way Edna St. Vincent Millay, for example, undermines an argument about the mind’s dominion over desire through her sonnet’s gradually unravelling meter. Or how Rebecca Solnit tells the story of a city through a series of imaginative maps. Or even how a standardized test might be the ideal genre to describe life under dictatorship, as it is for Chilean author Alejandro Zambra. If form is a piece of writing’s second voice—speaking alongside, against, in dialogue with content—this workshop will turn up the volume on form, asking what it says, and what it can say, within a text. We will write, discuss, and revise our own poems, essays, and genre-bending work with an eye toward form and in the spirit of formal play.
Sara Cooper’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Mid-American Review, BorderSenses, Puerto del Sol, HYSTERIA: A Feminist Anthology of Poetry and Microfiction, and Mutabilis Press’s Houston Nature Anthology. A chapbook of poems, Mis—, was published in 2014 by Grandma Moses Press. She received her MFA in poetry at New Mexico State University and is now pursuing a PhD at the University of Houston.