The Narrative Poem

This five-week online workshop will focus on the use of narrative techniques and storytelling in poetry. We’ll explore the poem as a way to write a journey, to understand our voices and other voices—expressing different perspectives, bodies and places. We’ll look at works by Elizabeth Bishop, Jamaica Kincaid, Chiwan Choi, Charles Simic, Nick Flynn, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Nathan McClain and Marguerite Duras; we’ll also make use of other mediums such as film and visual art to help us understand how to craft poignant moments in poetry through suspense, tension and space. Each week we’ll write and workshop new narrative poems, honing that integral storytelling skill: deciding what details to share and not to share. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Wednesday night, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of several books, including Marys of the Sea (ELJ Editions, 2016), #Survivor (The Operating System, 2020), and Killer Bob: A Love Story (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2021). They are the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017) and received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is the founder of Yes, Poetry and the senior managing editor for Luna Luna.