Let Me Show You What I Mean: Giving Shape to the Unnameable

“Now it asks / what can be understood but not explained / and I have nothing with me.”
— Linda Gregg

Poetry often derives its power by naming, but how do you name what you cannot name? How do you name the childhood you didn’t have, the memories you’ve lost or the absence of a language or a home? In this three-hour, generative online workshop, we’ll read and analyze poems by writers such as Safia Elhillo, Linda Gregg, Solmaz Sharif and Paul Tran. Using these as inspiration, we’ll add new approaches to our poetry toolkit and practice them with a variety of prompts, expanding what it means to name and finding new ways to give shape to what we have been unable to shape.

Workshop Details


  • Teacher: renée kay
  • Level: II
  • Date: Aug 2, 2022
  • Time: Tuesday, 6:30–9:30 pm (ET)
  • Location: online via Zoom
  • Cost: $95
  • Class size: 6–12 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, JUL 24, 2022
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off through SUN, JUNE 19
renée kay

renée kay

renée kay (they/them) is a queer poet in Brooklyn by way of Appalachia and other beautiful, strange places. Their work can be found in Copper Nickel, Catapult, Yes Poetry, Glass, Perhappened, lickety-split and elsewhere, and they were recently selected as a semifinalist for Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Contest. They graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BS in Quantitative Methods in Economics and Math. In lieu of continuing with higher-ed, they have chosen an ongoing MFA of engagement and have been lucky enough to learn from Jay Desphande, Natalie Eilbert, Shira Erlichman, Paul Tran and others. In 2020, they worked with Angel Nafis in Catapult’s year-long poetry intensive. They’ve recently been appointed the new deputy director of Brooklyn Poets.