Ocean Vuong says that the writing workshop “privileges correction as progress…polish, cut, write, chop, tighten.” Vuong is speaking about the mechanics of writing we so dearly cling to— that focus on craft which demonstrates a level of skill and poetic dexterity. But what happens if we focus on content? What happens if we focus simply on what a poem is attempting to communicate or reveal and how that attempt connects us to one another, not simply as poets who are technicians of the word, but as human beings living in the rawness of a world reflecting both fragility and joy? In this generative workshop, participants will write poems each week based on a different theme. Feedback on craft will be offered, but more consideration will be given to the experience of the poem, how words can deepen our understanding of ourselves and those in our community.
Niki Herd is the author of The Language of Shedding Skin and co-editor of Laura Hershey: On the Life & Work of an American Master, which features the poetry of and critical essays about disability activist Laura Hershey. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets (Poem-a-Day), Lit Hub, The Rumpus, Obsidian, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Break Beat Poets Volume 2: Black Girl Magic, among other journals and anthologies. Her work has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Cave Canem. In 2018, Herd was a recipient of a Newberry Library Archival Theory and Practice Fellowship. Currently, she lives in Texas where she is an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellow of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston.