As much as the eye gives us retinal bursts of experience, so too can the eye capture an expanse, whether retinal or colossal. Knausgaard’s My Struggle is a bizarre reminder that one can and should capitalize on all our trivial goings-on. Alice Notley teaches us the epic of ongoingness, of “a subway, endlessly,” about how we can and should be poets of a continuous mind. Over the course of the workshop, we will each workshop a single long poem that strives for length, pages and patience (both as writers and readers). I will ask to see the smallest whimpers blasted toward a grand gesture, the monumental and the inconsequential amassed into the same monument. It should be messy and undoctored. We will read the epics and long poems of others: Mina Loy, Alice Notley, Fred Moten, Claudia Rankine, Anne Boyer and on and on and on.
Natalie Eilbert is the author of Swan Feast (Coconut Books, 2015) and the chapbooks Conversation with the Stone Wife (Bloof Books, 2014) and And I Shall Again Be Virtuous. (Big Lucks, 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.