“I know how men in exile feed on dreams,” Aeschylus wrote centuries ago. In this online workshop, we’ll read poems written at the intersection of identity and physical space, exploring the work of writers such as Audre Lorde, Marilyn Chin, Juan Felipe Herrera, Solmaz Sharif, Philip Metres and Natalie Diaz. While much of the work will examine the impact of cultural assimilation, departure and war on the self, we’ll examine how dislocation can be an interior process as well. As Mahmoud Darwish famously noted, “You can be an exile in your homeland, in your own house, in your room.” This workshop will also consider the poetry of dislocation after violence, death, and even love, and the weekly writing prompts will be geared towards unpacking the emotional “border towns” we all house within us.
Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and clinical psychologist. Her debut poetry collection, Atrium (Three Rooms Press, 2012), was awarded the 2013 Arab American Book Award in Poetry. Four Cities, her second collection, was published by Black Lawrence Press, and her most recent, Hijra, was selected as a winner of the 2015 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry and published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2016. Her debut novel, Salt Houses, was published to rave reviews by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017. She has been awarded a number of fellowships, including Lannan and Yaddo residencies, and she has led literary workshops in a variety of settings, including the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and the Lemon Tree House Residency in Italy. She lives in Brooklyn.