Just Say It:
The Art of Telling

We all know the old saying “Show, don’t tell.” But sometimes we get so caught up in the beauty of showing that what is meant to be said gets lost. There can be something wonderful about not obeying this dictum, to say, “I am sad today,” instead of trying to illustrate sadness. Straightforward revelations like “You must change your life” at the end of Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo” can distill all the powerful showing in that poem into telling. In this three-hour, generative online workshop, we’ll discuss and analyze poems by Aria Aber, Sharon Olds, Nicole Sealey and Toi Derricotte, among others, and we’ll write poems in response to prompts that help us think more intentionally about how to “just say it.” The goal of this workshop is to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of why it’s important sometimes to tell it like it is.

Workshop Details


Luther Hughes is the author of the debut poetry collection A Shiver in the Leaves, forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2022, and the chapbook Touched (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018). He is the founder of Shade Literary Arts, a literary organization for queer writers of color, and cohosts the Poet Salon podcast with Gabrielle Bates and Dujie Tahat. He is the recipient of a 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship and the 2020 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. Hughes has mentored and taught at several universities and institutions, including Washington University in St. Louis, where he received his MFA in poetry. He was born and raised in the South End of Seattle, where he currently lives.