Medusa, sirens, banshees, demons, harpies, jinn—from Homer to Yeats, poets have long drawn upon rich mythologies to create their work. Long before Game of Thrones and Harry Potter popularized legendary beasts like dragons and basilisks, poetry and literature have been peppered with references to mythological creatures and figures and legends. This online workshop will nudge participants into experimenting with both Eastern and Western mythologies as sources of inspiration, from astrology to underworld/creation myths. In addition to weekly prompts and relevant poetry models, each week we’ll look at several entries from Jorge Luis Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings. The professor will provide a video introduction to the course as well as brief video introductions for each writing prompt, and weekly work will be done asynchronously on Wet Ink.
Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and clinical psychologist. Her debut poetry collection, Atrium (Three Rooms Press, 2012), was awarded the 2013 Arab American Book Award in Poetry. Four Cities, her second collection, was published by Black Lawrence Press, and her most recent, Hijra, was selected as a winner of the 2015 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry and published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2016. Her debut novel, Salt Houses, was published to rave reviews by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017. She has been awarded a number of fellowships, including Lannan and Yaddo residencies, and she has led literary workshops in a variety of settings, including the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and the Lemon Tree House Residency in Italy. She lives in Brooklyn.