Urban legends: most of you are most likely familiar with Bloody Mary, the Slender Men and the Headless Horseman of Sleep Hollow, but have you heard the one about the hidden Gateway to Hell in Europe? In this weekly drop-in class, we’ll go on a virtual and poetic deep dive together, sifting through both fact and fiction using a series of guided prompts, drawing inspiration from poets who’ve written about such legends and mythology like Deborah Paredez, Ching-In Chen and Carl Phillips. This class is meant to explore the possibilities of the “poet’s mind,” one drenched in curiosity and the wish to understand and translate the historical context, complexities and implications surrounding a given urban legend and how its powerful symbolism cannot always be so easily dismissed as “unreal” or insubstantial. Sharing 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.)
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Rosebud Ben-Oni is the author of several collections of poetry, including If This Is the Age We End Discovery (March 2021), which won the Alice James Award and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She has received fellowships and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, City Artists Corps, Café Royal Cultural Foundation, CantoMundo and Queens Council on the Arts. Her work appears in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Poetry Society of America, the Poetry Review (UK), Poetry Wales, Tin House, Guernica and Electric Literature, among other places. Her poem “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in NYC, and her poem “Dancing with Kiko on the Moon” was featured on Tracy K. Smith’s The Slowdown. In May 2022, Paramount commissioned her video essay “My Judaism is a Wild Unplace” for a campaign for Jewish Heritage Month, which appeared on Paramount Network, MTV Networks, The Smithsonian Channel and VH1, among many other places. In January 2023, she’ll perform at Carnegie Hall on International Holocaust Memorial Day as part of “We Are Here: Songs From The Holocaust.”