Charging Language

Place, Image, Syntax

Ezra Pound once wrote, “Literature is language charged with meaning.” In this workshop we will investigate how poets have used the tested triangle of place, image and syntax not only to construct an intended voice to charge language but to avoid flat representations of character. Through writing exercises and by reading the work of Larry Levis, Gwendolyn Brooks, Cesar Vallejo, Louis Gluck, Li Po, Terrance Hayes and Yehuda Amichi, among others, we will learn to bring greater nuance to our intentions so that a poem can be contextualized, complicated and imbued with emotional and intellectual gravitas, thus producing fuller and more exact ideas in our writing, and in our selves. Some questions we will pursue: How do self and place relate? How can syntax better represent your voice? What is the difference between image, metaphor and symbol? When should I use each?

Workshop Details


David Tomas Martinez’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Poetry, Ploughshares and Oxford American, among many other journals, and he has been featured or written about in Poets & Writers, Publishers Weekly, NPR’s All Things Considered and other venues. Martinez received his MFA from San Diego State University and is currently a PhD candidate in poetry at the University of Houston, where he is the Reviews and Interviews Editor for Gulf Coast. A Bread Loaf and CantoMundo Fellow, his debut collection of poetry, Hustle (Sarabande Books, 2014), won the New England Book Festival’s prize in poetry.