The prescient poet and feminist Audre Lorde once wrote, “It is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are – until the poem – nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt… The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.”
It is no wonder then that in these first turbulent decades of our new century, there has been an explosion in American literature of profoundly inventive women poets.
In this class, we will draw from the examples of their brave new work to create our own. The selected texts by Franny Choi (Soft Science), Natalie Diaz (When My Brother Was An Aztec), Patricia Lockwood (Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals), and Claudia Rankine (Citizen) – touch on such broad-ranging themes as technology, genocidal violence, mythology, rape culture, and police brutality. They show how writers use form, scheme, language, voice, and sound to create works of art that not only thrill, but also awaken and enlighten us.
We will use our reading and related prompts to create and refine our own poetry of this strenuous and strange 21st century.
This class takes place remotely online via Zoom. Register to receive the zoom link and class instructions.
Michelle R. Smith is a writer, educator, cultural facilitator, and native Clevelander. She is the author of the poetry collections Ariel in Black (2015) and The Vagina Analogues (2020), and the creator of BLAX MUSEUM, an annual performance showcase dedicated to honoring notable black figures in American history and culture. Michelle’s favorite writers include Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Sylvia Plath, Terrance Hayes, and Saeed Jones.