Touch Me Before Dawn Approaches: The Aubade & Other Forms of Grief

Constance Hansen writes, “Grief is a form of praise.” And poetry, much like grief, is a ritual of our humanity. Often in the Western imagination there is an unspoken limit to a period of mourning. But what if we honor our grief by letting it live in us and move through in its own time? In this six-week online workshop, we’ll write poems that challenge our understanding of grief and show us its many forms: anger, love, sorrow. Reading the poems and craft essays of Mary Ruefle, Kevin Young, Phillip B. Williams, Diannely Antigua, Vievee Francis and other writers, we’ll walk through several forms that can give grief its shape in writing, including the aubade, the elegy, the epithalamion and the pantoum. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Thursday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


  • Teacher: I. S. Jones
  • Level: I
  • Dates: Jun 30–Aug 4, 2022
  • Time: Thursdays, 6:30–9:30 pm (ET)
  • Location: online via Zoom
  • Cost: $445
  • Class size: 5–10 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, JUN 26, 2022
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off through SUN, JUNE 19
I.S. Jones

I. S. Jones

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.