The temple bell stops—
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.
—Matsuo Bashō (trans. by Robert Bly)
Great short poems (like Bashō’s above) can, after one read, stick with you for a lifetime. Some are written quickly, and others emerge as the result of weeks or years of work. This generative workshop welcomes students who are interested in tapping into the power of short poems. We’ll discuss the impact and inherent power of single words, phrases, images and gestures; consider the energy of the blank space that surrounds a few carefully crafted, sonically and visually attuned lines; embrace compression; and rescue strong short poems from longer drafts. Students will complete a variety of generative exercises to write poems that range from 1 to 14 lines: haiku, sonnets, lyrics, and free verse. We’ll take cues from poets such as Kobayashi Issa, Fanny Howe, Federico García Lorca, A.R. Ammons, Lucille Clifton and Larry Eigner. We’ll also explore the art of Jenny Holzer and Adrian Piper, who effectively use short phrases and sentences in their work. After our time together, each participant will have 4–6 new, workshopped poems, detailed written critiques of these poems, and a stronger capacity to write striking, dynamic short poems.
Emily Hunt is a poet, artist, educator and arts professional. She holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and is the author of the poetry collection Dark Green (The Song Cave, 2015), named a “Must-Read Poetry Debut” by Lit Hub. Her most recent works are Company (The Song Cave, 2019), a poetry chapbook, and Cousins (Cold Cube Press, 2019), a book of photographs. Hunt has been a visiting writer at the University of Richmond, Reed College and UC Santa Cruz, and has taught writing at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Westfield State University, Juniper Summer Writing Institute, Omnidawn Publishing, Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop and elsewhere. She has worked for a variety of museums and arts nonprofits, including the Poetry Society of America, the Poetry Foundation, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and Action Books.