God of Boat & Mouth & Ear

Poetry in Love with the Ordinary

A trope of poetry is that we poets must be transcendentally wise, ascending the mountain to shout our discoveries down at our listeners (all while in front of a blazing sunset, of course.) But what if our simple, complex lives are enough? In his poem “Ode with Interruptions,” Rick Barot writes, “I used to think that to write poems, to make art, / meant trying to transcend the prosaic elements / of the self, to arrive at some essential plane, where / poems were supposed to succeed. I was wrong.” In this workshop, instead of ascending some dramatic mountain, we’ll dive into the ordinary objects, concerns and characters of our everyday lives. Guided by Ross Gay, Marie Howe, Aracelis Girmay and Jean Valentine (among others), we’ll use forms such as the ode, ghazal and the epistolary poem to unfold the tremendous wisdom and presence available nowhere else but here—with the coffee cup, the bills, the rain—right here, wherever we are, right now.

Workshop Details


Shira Erlichman is a poet, musician and visual artist. She was born in Israel and immigrated to the US when she was six. Her poems explore recovery—of language, of home, of mind—and value the “scattered wholeness” of healing. She earned her BA at Hampshire College and has been awarded the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe and a residency by the Millay Colony. Her work has been featured in the PBS NewsHour Poetry Series, Huffington Post, Seattle Times and New York Times, among other publications. Her debut poetry book, Odes to Lithium, was published by Alice James Books in September 2019. She is also the author and illustrator of the picture book Be/Hold (Penny Candy Books, 2019). She has taught for Urban Word NYC, the Volume Summer Institute and York College–CUNY, and she has been teaching online poetry classes via her company Freer Form for the last nine years. She lives in Brooklyn.