The Poetic Sequence

Where does one poem end and another begin? What can a series do that a single poem might not? Why group a set of poems into a sequence? What makes a successful grouping? Often, poems begin in chaos. A thread emerges as we organize, expand and trim, and a poet might find that a single poem is not sufficient to contain their vision. In this workshop we will explore how the long-form poetic sequence enables a poet to pursue a theme, peel open an idea, or build a world beyond the single poem. We will explore various devices such as association, juxtaposition, thematic development, sustained tension, and abstraction. We will look at a diverse range of sequences, by Alice Notley, Lisa Robertson, Claudia Rankine, Fred Moten, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Saul Williams, Joy Harjo and more. This course is generative and discursive and will be helpful alike to those already working on a series and those new to exploring the sequence as a form.

Workshop Details


Grace Shuyi Liew is a writer and visual artist. She is the author of Careen (Noemi Press, 2019) and the chapbooks Book of Interludes (Anomalous Press, 2016) and Prop (Ahsahta Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in West Branch, Black Warrior Review, Kenyon Review and elsewhere. She is a Watering Hole fellow and contributing editor for Waxwing. Her honors include the Lucille Clifton Poetry Fellowship from Squaw Valley Community of Writers, an Aspen Summer Words scholarship and the Ahsahta Press Chapbook Prize 2016, among others. She holds a BA in philosophy from Hamilton College and an MFA in creative writing from Northern Arizona University. Born and raised in Malaysia, a former colony of the British Empire, Grace thinks closely of migration, loss, sexuality, violence and nation states. She has taught as an instructor at Northern Arizona University and Louisiana State University and as a teaching artist in various K–12 schools. Previously, Grace also worked as a journalist and simultaneous interpreter.