The Surreal Image

This workshop will focus on the use of surreal ​imagery to set a tone and create a dream-like, otherworldly landscape in your poems. We’ll do this largely by utilizing memory, as our memories often resemble dreams, with strange images and meanings. We’ll attempt to inhabit the poem as a means to express​ and illustrate​ different ​memories, ​images ​and places—as a way to ​build pictures around moments in time. To help harness this kind of imagery, we’ll look at examples by ​Charles Simic, ​Janice Lee, Kim Hyesoon, Anne Sexton, Kamau Braithwaite, Srikanth Reddy, Monica Ferrell and Alejandro Jodorowsky, along with other mediums such as film and visual art.

Workshop Details


Joanna C. Valente is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015) and Marys of the Sea (ELJ Editions, 2016). Some of her work appears or is forthcoming in the Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, Similar Peaks, Paris-American, BORT Quarterly and Tinderbox, among other places. She earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and in 2011 received the American Society of Poets Prize. She is the founder of Yes, Poetry and is the chief editor for Luna Luna Magazine. She lives in Sunset Park.