The ars poetica—by definition a poem that conveys the “art of poetry” according to a particular poet—is a poetic form we stumble upon when we’re least expecting it. It’s a collision between ourselves (“the poet”) and our passion (“the poem”). Like any relationship, this is the poem you understand the least—the one that starts, “I am sitting down to write a poem,” then yields nothing afterward but frustration. In this five-week online workshop, we’ll study the form of the ars poetica, reading heavily from This Art: A Copper Canyon Ars Poetica Anthology to study how other poets—including Pablo Neruda, Carolyn Kizer, Taylor Byas, Yolanda Wisher, Terrance Hayes and Elizabeth Alexander—use the form as a way of writing as self-revival. We’ll write and workshop our own ars poeticas and experiment with ways to push through the process of relaying our identities as poets into our work. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Thursday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.
Starr Davis is a poet and essayist whose work has been featured in multiple literary venues such as the Kenyon Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, the Rumpus, So to Speak and Transition. She is a 2021–2022 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellow and the creative nonfiction editor for TriQuarterly. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the City College of New York and a BA in journalism and creative writing from the University of Akron. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry and creative nonfiction, Best of the Net and Best American Essays. She works as a poetry mentor and workshop facilitator in Ohio, where she currently lives.