Vulnerability is lethal in poetry. The confessional poets taught us this, and we see this in the work of poets today who write about the convictions and injustices that weigh on us, such as Reginald Dwayne Betts, who writes, “I was under, not whisky, but History: I robbed a man.” In this generative, five-week online workshop, we’ll explore convictions and how secrets shape themselves in our poetry. We’ll consider the multiple meanings of the word “conviction” and how writing convictions can mean expressing strong personal feelings or beliefs in a way that strangely makes us feel guilty or exposed. We’ll write poems expressing personal guilt and beliefs about wrongdoings or actual crimes, considering how we are defining crime today. We’ll study works by Betts, Tina Chang, José Olivarez, Lynn Melnick and more. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Tuesday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.
Starr Davis is a poet and essayist whose work has been featured in multiple literary venues such as the Kenyon Review, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, the Rumpus, So to Speak and Transition. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the City College of New York and a BA in journalism and creative writing from the University of Akron. She tutors marginalized groups of young African American female writers for the nonprofit organization Seeds of Fortune. She is the creative nonfiction editor for TriQuarterly.