Poetry and Genre Fiction
Ursula K. Le Guin said in her 1976 introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness that “the purpose of a thought-experiment … is not to predict the future … but to describe reality, the present world.” She was referring to the sci-fi novel, of course. In the schisms carved by MFA programs dividing poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, sci-fi and other genre fictions have been condemned and fallen to the wayside. But for poets today, with all their efforts to contain and create the 21st century, the thought-experiment behind sci-fi and others genres is undergoing a resurgence. In this workshop, we’ll reconsider genre fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, westerns) as it relates to poetry, reading selections of work by Mina Loy, Cathy Park Hong, Lara Glenum, Aase Berg, LaTasha Nevada Diggs, Joyelle McSweeney and others. Poets will have the opportunity to write poems that focus on world building and cultural extrapolation as well as undertaking larger formal experiments.
Natalie Eilbert’s first book of poems, Swan Feast, is forthcoming from Coconut Books in the summer of 2015. Her chapbook Conversation with the Stone Wife was published by Bloof Books and her chapbook And I Shall Again Be Virtuous. by Big Lucks Books in 2014. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Tin House, West Branch, Spinning Jenny, Handsome and many other venues. She has taught creative writing at Columbia University and Barnard College and is the founding editor of the Atlas Review. She lives in Greenpoint.