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9:00 – 10:30
Pulling Down Stars: Using Lorca’s Deep Song and Duende to Illuminate Tone in Your Poetry

This presentation will offer an in-depth discussion of Federico Garcia Lorca’s brilliant essays and how they can help each poet to find their own distinctive voice. Delving into the intensity of the words of these songs Lorca explains, “The poem either poses a deep emotional question with no answer, or solves it with death, which is the question of questions.” Deep song for the poet must come from a deep recess of internal emotional questioning. To find duende the artist must be willing to be emotionally vulnerable. Lorca addresses this raw emotion in his lecture, “In the healing of the wound that never closes, lies the strange, invented qualities of a man’s work.” In this presentation we will discuss Lorca’s essays, take a close look at a few deep song poems, and write our own poems from specific duende inspired prompts to explore the dark night steeped in stars.

ELIZABETH MERCURIO earned an MFA in poetry from The Solstice Low-Residency Program of Pine Manor College. Her work has appeared in Third Point Press, Philadelphia Stories, The Skinny Poetry Journal, The Literary Nest, Fledgling Rag, Martin Lake Journal, Lily Poetry Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Anti Heroin Chic, Ample Remains, The Wild Word, Thimble Magazine, and is forthcoming in Solstice Literary Magazine. She was nominated for a Best of the Net nomination and was the 2016 recipient of The Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry. Her chapbook, Doll, is currently available from Lily Poetry Review Books.

10:45 – 12:15
Particle and Wave:  Strengthening Poems’ Sonic Power

In this discussion-based workshop, Eastern Shore native and poet Catherine Carter uses contemporary poems to discuss a few of the ways in which a poem can be built around the sounds of single words, model one possible process for revising a poem in this way, and encourage participants to do this with their own works. Participants should bring hard copy of one or two of their own short poems (no more than a page) to work on.   

CATHERINE CARTER’s collections of poetry with LSU Press include The Memory of Gills (2006), The Swamp Monster at Home (2012), and Larvae of the Nearest Stars (2019).  Her poetry has won the North Carolina Literary Review’s James Applewhite Prize, the NC Literary and Historical Society’s Roanoke-Chowan Award, Jacar Press’ chapbook contest, and Caldwell County Arts Council’s  Western NC Regional Poetry Contest; it has also appeared in Best American Poetry 2009, Orion, Poetry, Ecotone, Tar River Poetry, and Ploughshares, among others.  Raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, she is now professor of English at Western Carolina University.


10:45 – 12:15
Poetry Critique Workshop 
(limited to 8 participants)

In this workshop we’ll explore the many ways that poets can tell stories, make music, and create meaning. Participants can expect detailed line-level feedback on their work; from time to time the poems under discussion will also serve as jumping-off points for more general conversations about poetic technique. Throughout the session the instructor will provide participants with useful examples drawn from the work of both contemporary and non-contemporary writers.

This special session is capped at eight participants and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Those wishing to participate should first register for the conference, and then check their conference confirmation for a link to sign up. This workshop will require a poem to be sent to the instructor ahead of time. Further details will be emailed to participants. Participants may only sign up for one special session. Once the session is full, those wishing to participate will be placed on a waiting list.

Canadian-American poet JAMES ARTHUR is the author of The Suicide’s Son (Véhicule Press 2019) and Charms Against Lightning (Copper Canyon Press, 2012.) His poems have also appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Review of Books, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and The London Review of Books. He has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Northern Ireland, and a Visiting Fellowship at Exeter College, Oxford. Arthur lives in Baltimore where he teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

1:45 – 3:15
Writing Love Poems

The oldest known written poem was a love poem. “The Love Song of Shu-Shin” was found in excavations of the city of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia, and probably written in the 20th c. BCE.  If love is the original subject, how can we possibly make our contemporary poems say anything new on the subject? In this workshop, we will look at model poems and discuss how writers have handled our most tender emotionand why new love poems continue to be necessary.

KIM ROBERTS Kim Roberts is the editor of the anthology By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of our Nation’s Capital (University of Virginia Press, 2020), selected by the DC Public Library for the 2021 Route 1 Reads program as the book that “best illuminates important aspects” of the culture of Washington, DC. She is the author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018), and five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017).

3:30 – 5:00
The Ferro Rod of Forms

Writing well in poetry is a practice. The daily act of it, arguably, is to touch others with experiences that have been profoundly touching to ushave enlightened us. Emotion is a key element required to fuel that imagination blaze. However, an equal partner in that exercise is the reliable spark of technique. In this workshop, technique and form work will be the focus. Poets will learn that free verse compositions can be greatly edified by embracing the creative campfire of forms.

TRUTH THOMAS is a singer-songwriter and poet born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and raised in Washington, DC. He has four collections of poetry to his credit, including Speak Water, winner of the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. The “Skinny” poetry form is credited to Thomas’ creation. Founder of Cherry Castle Publishing, his poems have appeared in over 150 publications, including Poetry Magazine and The 100 Best African American Poems (edited by Nikki Giovanni). His forthcoming collection, Moon Jumps Over Stormy Monday, is slated for release in 2022. 

Session Summaries by Track:

Fiction I  |  Fiction II  |  Poetry I  |  Poetry II  |  Publishing & Editing  |  Marketing  |  Craft  |  Specialty Writing




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