There are certain moments in history that are so iconic, so enduring, so undeniably important that even the mention of them hearkens images, sounds, memories, and emotions–Mention “New Coke” to anyone who grew up in the 80’s and watch as they shudder with exasperation; bring up the neon orange VHS tapes that used the litter most living rooms twenty years ago and 90’s babies will tell you of their lore. Poets over the course of time have utilized the zeitgeist of the day to inform their writing–finding muses in musical divas and inspiration in Impressionist paintings.
In this 10-week, generative poetry workshop we will look at how our own histories intertwine, converse, and respond to the music, media, art, and culture of our adolescence and childhoods. How might one convey something like the fear surrounding the Washington D.C. area during the anthrax and snipers cares of the early 2000’s? Each week we will engage with texts by contemporary poets including Benjamin Garcia, Danez Smith, Safiya Sinclair, among others in order to discuss the influence of popular culture on history as it is currently unfolding. In addition, we will complete guided exercises, and finally, look at each other’s drafts in order to provide useful and constructive feedback.
This workshop is suitable for writers at all stages; writers just beginning their journey will find an open and welcoming space here, as will writers who have extensive workshop experience. In addition, flash and micro fiction and non-fiction writers are encouraged to participate.
Dr. Michelle Dominique Burk received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University as well as her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston where her scholarly research focused on the intersections between critical race studies and popular culture. Her work has appeared in various publications including Narrative Magazine, Lit Hub, Boston Review, Cleaver Magazine, Bat City Review, Permafrost, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.