The Uncanny Poem

Taking a cue from Freud’s famous definition of the uncanny (unheimlich, literally “unhomelike”), this six-week online workshop will explore how to “make the familiar strange” in poetry, particularly through poems that mine the dark, rich veins of the supernatural, horror, and the Gothic. How does one write poems that take full advantage of the weird and the eerie without slipping into either genre cliches or garden-variety surrealism? We’ll read and discuss a wide variety of spooky and unsettling poems to prompt us, from the Romantics and Edgar Allen Poe to Frank Bidart, Daphne Gottlieb, Joe Fletcher and many others. We’ll generate work that plays with disquieting images and metaphors, with a particular emphasis on utilizing effective techniques for sending a little chill into the reader’s soul. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Thursday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


  • Teacher: Gregory Crosby
  • Level: II
  • Dates: Jun 23–Jul 28, 2022
  • Time: Thursdays, 6:30–9:00 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
Gregory Crosby

Gregory Crosby

Gregory Crosby is the author of Said No One Ever, Walking Away from Explosions in Slow Motion and the chapbooks Spooky Action at a Distance and The Book of Thirteen. For more than a decade he worked as an art critic, columnist and cultural commentator in Las Vegas, where he served as a poetry consultant for the Cultural Affairs Division. He was awarded a Nevada Arts Council Fellowship in Literary Arts and holds an MFA in creative writing from the City College of New York, where he won the 2006 Marie Ponsot Poetry Prize. From 2010 to 2014 he cocurated the Earshot reading series and from 2011 to 2015 he coedited the online poetry journal Lyre Lyre. Currently he is the poetry editor for Bowery Gothic and an adjunct assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he teaches creative writing.