Sometimes people express a desire to receive closure from a relationship’s end, implying that “closure” is something that must be given to someone or offered. This suggests that a relationship cannot properly end without interaction from another party. How, then, does our relationship with someone dearly departed arrive at a place of closure? How is closure possible in the wake of ambiguous loss? Are closure, nostalgia and memory just ghosts of different shapes? In this generative, five-week workshop, we’ll examine the language we associate with the ends of relationships, as well as the intersections of power and vulnerability. In addition, we’ll consider poetic closures themselves, reading and discussing poems by Sharon Olds, Camonghne Felix, Sylvia Plath, Bhanu Kapil, Ama Codjoe and others as we write and workshop our own poems on closure. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.
Itiola 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.