“Do you remember? / Do you remember? This / is my only proof. Memory / tells me I am yours. I am yours, Abuelo,” says Aracelis Girmay about feeling her now-late grandfather everywhere around her in the last city he lived in. Mythmaking is the human impulse to bridge what we don’t understand to what we can make tangible sense out of. Poetry then becomes that very bridge into what is infinitely possible. In this five-week workshop, we’ll read and discuss the poems of Safia Elhillo, Natalie Diaz, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Jericho Brown, Suji Kwock Kim and more while pulling from different mythos from all over the world (Nigerian folklore, Korean folklore, Greek folklore, etc). We’ll explore how mythmaking in poetry can give us language to process our oldest human questions: Where do our loved ones go after their lives are over? How do we process loss, violence, unrequited love, and unfinished conversations? We will source from stories we’ve heard growing up, family stories, and our own superstitions, and blend already existing myths to create something new.
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.