Judith Herman begins her seminal work, Trauma and Recovery, by declaring that “the study of psychological trauma has a curious history: one of episodic amnesia.” She adds that “in the absence of strong political movements for human rights, the active process of bearing witness inevitably gives away to an active process of forgetting. Repression, dissociation, and denial are phenomena of social as well as individual consciousness.” Traumatic experience is characterized both by its predominance and its absence, the ways in which it marks us and the ways in which those marks are invisible to others. In this two-day online workshop, poets will explore their own or others’ experiences of trauma—defined broadly to include experiences inducing powerlessness and terror—and their representation on the page. Using prompts and techniques from activists, survivors, feminist theorists, organizers, healers and artists from many walks of life, including Danez Smith, adrienne maree brown, Cathy Linh Che, Tarfia Faizullah, Jennif(f)er Tamayo, Alán Pelaez Lopez, Carol Gilligan, Bessel van der Kolk and others, poets will practice crafting their own poems about trauma and have the option to participate in a constructive, supportive workshop about the expression of these types of experiences. We’ll meet on two consecutive Sundays. On the first, we’ll collectively respond to writing prompts and discuss craft and process, then take the intervening week to polish our work; on the second, we’ll workshop those pieces. Please note: participants will not be required to share their work with the rest of the group if they choose not to.
Marina Weiss (MFA, PhD) is a clinical psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Innovation in Mental Health at the School of Public Health at the City University of New York. In her training as a therapist, Marina has specialized in integrative modalities to support recovery from trauma and post-traumatic growth, and she has trained in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Marina also holds an MFA in poetry from NYU and is the author of a chapbook, Misprison, which was selected by Aracelis Girmay for the Get Like Us prize from Rabbit Catastrophe Press in 2017. The title poem from the collection was also selected by Eileen Myles for the 2018 So to Speak poetry prize. Marina’s work has been published in Tin House, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.