Poetry of the Collective

Poetry is, mostly, an individual, solitary endeavor—the singular writer writing their life. And yet in the 21st-century United States, and indeed internationally, communities are beset by collective problems. How do we as poets engage the collective from our individual perspectives? In this five-week online workshop, we’ll discuss and articulate our own ideas about what it means to consider individual concerns alongside collective ones, using this lens to approach and write new poems. Our responses will be prompted by readings from Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Ida Börjel, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Mark Nowak, Myung Mi Kim and more. New writing will be generated through prompts based on our guiding poets and on these ideas in general. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Sunday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


  • Teacher: Robert Balun
  • Level: II
  • Dates: Jun 26–Jul 24, 2022
  • Time: Sundays, 2:00–5:00 pm (ET)
  • Location: online via Zoom
  • Cost: $395
  • Class size: 5–10 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, JUN 19, 2022
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off through SUN, JUNE 19
Robert Balun listening to a faucet with a shower extension as though it were a telephone

Robert Balun

Robert Balun is an adjunct professor at the City College of New York, where he teaches creative writing and literature. He is the author of the poetry collections Acid Western (The Operating System) and Traces (Ursus Americanus Press). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Journal, Prelude, Barrow Street, Apogee and others. Robert’s first collection of scholarship, An Ethics of Thinking and Making in the Anthropocene: The Aesthetics of Disruption, is forthcoming from Routledge in 2024. He is also a union delegate for City College and a PhD student in English at Stony Brook University.