Interior Images

Risking Sight & Sense

“Lively and intact in a recurring wave / Of arrival. The soul establishes itself. / But how far can it swim out through the eyes / And still return safely to its nest?” John Ashbery asks in “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.” In this workshop, we’ll explore the answer to this question through the use of visual art prompts and generative practices that reveal the psyche beneath the surface of our poems. We’ll focus on sensory detail through observation and close reading, placing particular emphasis on the use of imagery. Many of the images we create together will serve as our texts. We’ll consider how light & texture “frame” poems by reading work that focuses on the seen and unseen forces of the physical world. Students will participate in basic photography tasks, such as creating self-portraits, and local field-writing assignments in DUMBO. Bring your eyes & your instincts!

Workshop Details


Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and visual artist. She is the author of Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books, 2010), The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press, 2011) and Mule & Pear (New Issues, 2011), which was awarded the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus of the American Librarian Association. A recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Millay Colony and Vermont Studio Center, her visual and literary work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Poets & Writers, Indiana Review, Mosaic, Folio, Transition, American Poet and elsewhere. Griffiths’s newest collection, Lighting the Shadow, will be published by Four Way Books in 2015. Currently, she teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Carroll Gardens.