They are investigative forms, revolutionary forms. They nourish what is strange in us.
One might argue that a poet is first a researcher, as it is in a poet’s nature to seek answers to questions they often ask themselves about personal histories. In this five-week, online workshop, we’ll journey towards those answers through archival research, in hopes that it will transform our reckonings with larger issues, such as social injustices, family histories, etc. Like Layli Long Soldier, who used the 2009 Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Americans as a starting place for her book WHEREAS, we’ll write poems in response to source materials. Each week, writing assignments will ask participants to use research material (e.g. recent or archived news articles, media reviews, legal documents, etc.) as inspiration for their poems. We’ll read and take inspiration from poets such as Soldier, Courtney Faye Taylor, Dwayne Betts, Ilya Kaminsky and Marwa Helal. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.
Starr Davis is a poet and essayist whose work has been featured in multiple literary venues such as the Kenyon Review, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Catapult, and the Rumpus. Previously a 2021–2022 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellow, a 2023 Fellow for the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the creative nonfiction editor for TriQuarterly, she holds an MFA in creative writing from the City College of New York and a BA in journalism and creative writing from the University of Akron. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize anthologies in poetry and creative nonfiction, Best of the Net and Best American Essays.