Poetry, like it or not, is political. Poets should expect for their politics—their stances and political investments—to surface in their writing practice, even if subconsciously, even if they’re striving for their work to be “apolitical.” In this five-week online workshop, we’ll explore how to develop our writing craft while also engaging in revolutionary political education. By looking at poems, essays and narratives from iconic revolutionaries such as Assata Shakur, George Jackson and Diane Di Prima, along with modern revolutionary-inspired writings by poets such as Tongo Eisen-Martin, James Cagney and Porsha O, this workshop will push writers to reflect upon and articulate their lived practices and politics outside of their poetry and identify when and how these things show up in our writing choices (via word choice, theme, form, genre, etc.). We’ll use text, media, theory and discussion to inform and challenge our points of view and our understanding of how our political lifestyles dictate how we show up as artists and, inevitably, as human beings. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Sunday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.
Imani Cezanne is a Black writer, performer and tamale connoisseur living in Oakland, CA. With her roots in spoken word and poetry slam, Cezanne brings a unique experience and background to the publishing world. In March of 2020 she became the Woman of the World Poetry Slam Champion for the second time. In July of the same year she was named a finalist for the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. A two-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, Cezanne has work published in Poetry, Prism and Nimrod, among other venues. She is the recipient of the San Francisco Arts Commission’s 2020 Writer’s Corp Teaching Artist in Residence Grant, a $40,000 award granted for three years to create spoken word poetry programming in San Francisco. Throughout her teaching career, Cezanne has taught creative writing and spoken word in high schools and universities across the country. She has also coached poetry slam teams at San Francisco State University, Mills College, American University and Georgetown University. While all are welcome to enjoy her work, Cezanne writes for Black people and Black readers and is committed to the liberation of all oppressed people.