Domestic Gestures

In Lucille Clifton’s poem “Cruelty,” we find ourselves in a domestic setting witnessing the speaker killing roaches, as she takes “a broom to their country and smashe[s] and slice[s] without warning, without stopping.” Elsewhere in James Longenbach’s poem “Thursday,” we find the speaker remarking on the ordinary miracle of cooking risotto: “the most difficult part about making something, also the best, / Is existing in the middle, / Sustaining an act of radical imagination.”

So much of our imagination is cultivated first in a domestic setting. While Clifton and Longenbach’s poems are different in execution, neither can exist without the setting of the domestic. What is the ordinary magic of living that we tap into everyday without realizing? What are the rituals of turning a house into a home? What do such close quarters reveal about our humanity? In this five-week online workshop, we’ll read and discuss the poems of Marie Howe, Lucille Clifton, Mary Oliver, James Longenbach, Agha Shahid Ali and many others as we turn to the domestic as fertile ground for our work. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Saturday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


  • Teacher: I. S. Jones
  • Level: II
  • Dates: Oct 8–Nov 5, 2022
  • Time: Saturdays, 2:00–5:00 pm (ET)
  • Location: online via Zoom
  • Cost: $395
  • Class size: 5–10 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, OCT 2, 2022
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off through SUN, SEPT 18
I.S. Jones

I. S. Jones

I.S. Jones is an American / Nigerian poet, essayist and music journalist. She is a graduate fellow with the Watering Hole and holds fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT Writer’s Retreat and Brooklyn Poets. I.S. hosts a month-long online poetry workshop every April called the Singing Bullet. She is the coeditor of The Young African Poets Anthology: The Fire That Is Dreamed Of (Agbowó, 2020) and served as the inaugural nonfiction guest editor for Lolwe. She is an editor at 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, freelanced for Complex, Revolt TV, NBC News THINK and elsewhere. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Guernica, Washington Square Review, LA Review of Books, the Rumpus, the Offing and elsewhere. Her poem “Vanity” was chosen by Khadijah Queen as a finalist for the 2020 Sublingua Prize for Poetry. She received her MFA in poetry at UW–Madison, where she was the inaugural 2019­­–2020 Kemper K. Knapp University Fellow and is the 2021–2022 Hoffman Hall Emerging Artist Fellowship recipient. She is the director of the Watershed Reading Series with Art + Literature Laboratory, a community-driven contemporary arts center in Madison, Wisconsin. Her chapbook Spells of My Name (2021) is out with Newfound. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Frontier Poetry.