This weekly, online drop-in class is inspired by Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever, which explores our impulse to collect things but also addresses a Shadow or Secret Archive that may not be as accessible. Each week, we’ll focus on writing the self through an archive of things we keep with us and around us. We’ll draw on meaningful objects such as family heirlooms, favorite books, photographs, clothing and accessories, as well as seemingly less meaningful things like CAPTCHA tests, junk mail, food forgotten in the fridge, and much more. We’ll draw on the space we are physically in, incorporating the everyday into the writing process. We’ll read poems by Robin Coste Lewis, Franny Choi, Tommy Pico, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Megan Fernandes, Chen Chen and others. How can poetry access that shadow archive? Through generative prompts we’ll write poems that take a deep dive into our archives but also reassemble and remake them into wholly new ones. Sharing of poems written in class will be encouraged but optional. (Note that drop-in classes are not a forum for critique of work; students looking for critique should register for multi-week workshops.)
Erin Mizrahi (she/they) is a Pushcart-nominated poet, educator and collaborator and the cofounder and editor-in-chief of Cobra Milk. Erin holds a PhD in comparative studies in literature and culture from the University of Southern California and has received fellowships from Asylum Arts and the Institute for Jewish Creativity. Their writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Bending Genres, Sonora Review, Gasher, Rogue Agent, the Ben Yehuda Press anthology Strange Fire: Jewish Voices from the Pandemic and elsewhere. Erin has taught at USC, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Fordham University and NYU–Los Angeles. Erin is coauthor with Jason Lipeles of the microchapbook if we break, where we break, how we break from Ghost City Press.