Workshops I: Repetition & Variation

Building Music and Momentum

“Most arts,” writes Ezra Pound, “attain their effect by using a fixed element and a variable.” In this workshop, students will work on mastering the use of repetition and variation in their poems to build music and momentum. We will experiment with sonic and rhythmic repetition, phrasal repetition and refrains, and explore verse forms like the villanelle, ballade and blues stanza that incorporate repetition into their structures. Readings will include poems by Wyatt, Tennyson, Melville, Whitman, Dickinson, Stein, Stevens, Eliot, Langston Hughes, Auden, Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Celan, Gil Scott-Heron, James Fenton, Terrance Hayes and others.

Workshop Details



Joshua Mehigan’s second book, Accepting the Disaster, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2014 and has since been cited as a best book of the year in the New York Times Book Review, the Times Literary Supplement and other publications. Mehigan’s first book, The Optimist, was a finalist for the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His poems have appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times, Village Voice and Poetry, which awarded him its 2013 Levinson Prize. The recipient of a 2011 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mehigan currently teaches creative writing at the College of Staten Island. He is a faculty member of Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference and has led poetry workshops at Stonecoast Writers’ Conference and the West Chester University Poetry Conference. He lives in Windsor Terrace.