The Language of Desire

     Like a madrigal, a pastoral
     In the pocket of my houndstooth vest,

     You are the only beauty in this
     Celestial torture I will call my own.
     —Lucie Brock-Broido

According to Lacan, desire is nothing or, rather, desire is a moving target that clings to anything that then becomes its object. And Freud writes that desire leads to our undoing. Furthermore, desire, by definition, remains ever outside the realm of realization: once we get what we desire, we no longer desire it. In this poetry workshop we will read, discuss, write and workshop poems rooted in desire, working our way through this exhilarating, complicated and tumultuous topic. Poets we will read and discuss will include Lucie Brock-Broido, Richard Scott, Franz Wright, Linda Gregg, Denis Johnson, Brenda Shaughnessy, Reginald Shepherd, Dawn Lundy Martin and Frank Stanford, among other possibilities. Each week we will read and discuss a sampling of poems, then workshop one another’s poems—offering thoughtful, considered feedback.

Workshop Details


American poet Cynthia Cruz is the author of Dregs (Four Way Books, 2018), How the End Begins (Four Way Books, 2016), Wunderkammer (Four Way Books, 2014), The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012), and Ruin (Alice James Books, 2006). Guidebooks for the Dead, her sixth collection of poems, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2020. She is the editor of an anthology of Latina poetry, Other Musics: New Latina Poetry (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), and her first collection of essays, Disquieting: Essays on Silence, an exploration of silence and power, was published in April of 2019 by Bookt*hug. Cruz teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University.