A Poet in the World:
Making a Life and Seeking Discipline

Although most of our discussions of craft involve technique, form and the compositional process, it’s equally important to consider the craft of making a living as a poet. Despite what any idealistic visions of the artist’s life might suggest, making poems involves surviving in a market-driven society that for the most part will not pay you to write poems. It involves navigating the highs and lows of solitude and of community. It involves being compassionate and disciplined with yourself. And it involves an ever-changing relationship to your craft, your mind and your senses.

In this craft lab, we’ll go over different strategies that can help you build the life you want as a writer, structured into three parts: Personal Discipline (developing a writing process and a submissions routine, etc.), Patience (watching your own internal rises & falls in creativity, resisting negative ideas about productivity, etc.) and Pursuit of Community (going to events, connecting with others through social media, etc.). We’ll discuss writing prompts for consistently working on your poetry around (or during) a day job, concrete tips for submitting to journals, and methods to help you build community with other writers. And we’ll take some time to look inwards and consider our own relationship to poetry.

All participants will have access to a cloud recording of the craft lab for one month afterward.

Craft Lab Details

Jay DeshpandeJay Deshpande is the author of Love the Stranger (YesYes Books, 2015), named one of the top debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers, and the chapbooks The Rest of the Body (YesYes Books, 2017) and The Umbrian Sonnets (PANK Books, 2020). A 2018–20 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and the winner of the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award and Narrative‘s Annual Poetry Contest, he has also received fellowships from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. His poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, New Republic and New England Review, among many other places. He is an advisory editor for Northwest Review and writes criticism for Guernica, Pleiades, Kenyon Review and Boston Review. He holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and has taught workshops for Poets House, the Academy of American Poets and Columbia’s MFA program. Deshpande started teaching for Brooklyn Poets in 2017, quickly becoming one of our most popular teachers and selling out all fourteen of his workshops and mentorship courses since that time. He is our most sought-after mentor on the Bridge and the leader of our Mentorship Program.