Crafting Line Breaks

Lineation, or how we choose to break a line, sets the tone for an entire poem. In this workshop, we will explore how the line break can create intrigue, mystery, tension and dual​it​y—as well as studying how using erasure and ekphrasis change how we use suspense in a line break in order to create a surreal yet candid atmosphere in a poem for the reader. Through this, we will learn how to become line-break chameleons, m​​astering the art of the delivery. Readings will include poems by Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks, Kym Hyesoon, Richard Siken, Srikanth Reddy, Audre Lorde, Elizabeth Bishop, J. Michael Martinez, Timothy Liu and many more. In addition, we’ll look at visual art, films and music as secondary sources and aids, including work by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brian Eno, Tim Hecker, Hieronymus Bosch, ​Takashi Murakami and others.

Workshop Details


Joanna C. Valente is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (ELJ Editions, 2016) and Xenos (Agape Editions, 2017). She is also the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). Some of her work appears or is forthcoming in the Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, Similar Peaks, Paris-American, BORT Quarterly and Tinderbox, among other places. She earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and in 2011 received the American Society of Poets Prize. She is the founder of Yes, Poetry and a managing editor for Luna Luna and CCM. She lives in Sunset Park.