What delights the poet in you about the landscapes and cityscapes that surround you? What shapes, colors and materials catch your eye? Do you bring them into your work? What about the recursion of patterns, fonts on street signage, writing on the walls? Or pleasing formlessness—clouds and crowds? What would it mean for a poem to have a horizon, or waves? For words to behave like a murmuration, like bird lines?
In this five-week online workshop, we’ll ground ourselves in the spaces we inhabit and take poetic cues and heart from the materiality of our surroundings, plucking words from the air, street, stone, field and river—the built and natural forms all around us. We’ll draw inspiration from nature and architecture, building poems inspired by both the unscripted chaos of the natural world and principles of design. Once I asked Diane di Prima what she thought of digital poetry. “What is it made of?” she shot back. “Bytes, electricity? That’s what we should first understand.” Together we’ll ponder what our poems are made of in the places where we live our lives, looking to those cities, countries and their histories to bring unexpected textures and cadences to our writing as we engage with the world, our place in it and our responsibility to it as poets. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Thursday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.
Born in ’77 and raised in Croatia, living in Brooklyn since ’97, Ana Božičević is a poet, translator, teacher and occasional singer. She is the author of Povratak lišća / Return of the Leaves, Selected Poems in Croatian (Hrvatsko Društvo Pisaca, 2020); Joy of Missing Out (Birds, LLC, 2017); the Lambda Award–winning Rise in the Fall (Birds, LLC, 2013); and Stars of the Night Commute (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2009). Božičević received her MFA in poetry from Hunter College. At the PhD program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, she studied New American poetics and alternative art schools and communities and edited lectures by Diane di Prima for Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative. She has read, taught and performed at Art Basel, Bruce High Quality Foundation University, Bowery Poetry Club, Brooklyn Poets, Harvard University, Naropa University, San Francisco State University Poetry Center, the Sorbonne, Third Man Records, University of Arizona Poetry Center and the Watermill Center. Her poetry workshops explore the poetic image, performance and the lyric, and blur the disciplinary boundaries between poetry and the visual arts, film, music, architecture and design. Her next book, New Life, is forthcoming from Wave Books in 2023.