Memento Mori

A withered rose. A bucket list. A cemetery. What is death to the poet? What do poems about death do for the living? In this six-week online workshop, participants will examine and create memento mori—works of art that remind us that we will die. We’ll explore various historical and contemporary forms including the elegy, jisei, epitaph and lament. Readings will include texts by Melvin Dixon, Gwendolyn Brooks, Pat Parker, Edward Hirsch, W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson and Agha Shahid Ali. Visual works by Edvard Munch, Frida Kahlo, Faith Ringgold and Felix Gonzalez-Torres will also be discussed. Work for the course will be done asynchronously on Wet Ink. At the start of the course, the professor will provide a video overview of memento mori, and each week she’ll provide video and written instructions to a new assignment. Students will draft six total poems of their own and exchange feedback on their poems electronically each week. At the end of the course, the professor will conference one-on-one with each student via video conference.

Workshop Details


Candace Williams is a black queer nerd living a double life. By day, she’s a sixth-grade humanities educator and robotics coach. By night and subway ride, she’s a poet. Her Spells for Black Wizards was a 2017 TAR Chapbook Series winner and published by the Atlas Review, and futureblack, her first full-length poetry manuscript, was a 2018 National Poetry Series finalist. Her work has appeared in the PEN Poetry Series, Tin House, Hyperallergic and Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of Color, among other places. She earned her master’s in education from Stanford University and has been awarded fellowships from Cave Canem, Brooklyn Poets and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.