LiTFUSE 2021 Class Selections

Friday Master Classes

Nguyen: Listening to Images | 11am – 2pm

Nguyen: Listening to Images | 11am – 2pm

The title for this master class is lifted from the title of scholar Tina M. Campt’s insightful text on ways of listening closely to photography; it informs how we will attune ourselves to the “lower frequencies” of a photographic image so that we can register “‘felt sound[s]’–sound that, like a hum, resonates in and as […]

Dungy: What Looking Might Mean | 2:30 – 5:30pm

Dungy: What Looking Might Mean | 2:30 – 5:30pm

“Look at the world carefully.” That is one of the most common pieces of advice people give about how to be a better writer. But, what can that really mean? How do you train your gaze to look more closely, more carefully, and more imaginatively? In this generative workshop, we will try some strategies toward […]

Dickman: Radical Revision | 2:30 – 5:30pm

Dickman: Radical Revision | 2:30 – 5:30pm

In this class we will look at the revision process, our own and others. We will each take a poem we have already written through several “radical” revision exercises and see if we can’t evolve our ideas of revision as an act into revision as an extended practice, examine ego and ownership, and leave with […]

Castro Luna: Documentary Poetics | 11am – 2pm

Castro Luna: Documentary Poetics | 11am – 2pm

If one looks up the nomenclature, Documentary Poetics, one quickly learns there is much interest and debate surrounding the term: What is the difference between Poetry of Witness and Documentary Poetics? Does Documentary Poetics inherently contain a political narrative or position? Titles and debates aside, the idea of using a third point of reference in […]

Session 1 | Saturday 9-10:30am

Nguyen | Resistance: Writing About or Against Aggressions

Nguyen | Resistance: Writing About or Against Aggressions

In this craft session, we will look at pieces which address everyday aggressions: micro and macro. Some of these may be pieces which are in dialogue with another piece of creative writing, or in response to a personal or social incident in real life. What does intentional writing as an act of resistance, of rectifying […]

Chen | Listening to the World: Writing in Haibun

Chen | Listening to the World: Writing in Haibun

This generative workshop focuses on the art of reading and writing haibun, a hybrid Japanese form which includes prose and haiku. We will explore classic and contemporary examples by writers including Matsuo Basho, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Mark Nowak and Tamiko Beyer. Through guided prompts, we will try our hand at composing our own haibun.

Bradfield | Reconsidering Personification

Bradfield | Reconsidering Personification

For so long, we’ve been taught to avoid personification of the non-human as a sentimental pitfall, borne of the Romantics and, most iconically, Wordsworth wandering “lonely as a cloud,” devoid of social or biological tethers. But holding ourselves apart might not be doing us — or non-human beings — any kind of service. Recent science […]

Session 2 | Saturday 11am-12:30pm

Wray | The Sentence Asks, the Line Answers

Wray | The Sentence Asks, the Line Answers

Every great poem understands its relationship to sentence structure thoroughly. Indeed, as Mary Kinzie notes, the line and the sentence are “the most important and interdependent of all the features of poetry.” Foundational to literary thought, the sentence comprises a set of words complete in itself. How a line break uses, distorts, and even subverts […]

Castro Luna | Walking/Writing

Castro Luna | Walking/Writing

Charles Baudelaire coined the term “flâneur” to indicate a person who strolls around a city with no particular destination in mind, observing, ingesting all that is happening around them. Henry David Thoreau walked extensively taking note of trees, insects, flowers, the natural life of his countryside. Both writers weaved their observations into their poems and […]

Session 3 | Saturday 1:30-3pm

NEW! Perrine | Abundance and Order: Assembling a Poetry Manuscript

NEW! Perrine | Abundance and Order: Assembling a Poetry Manuscript

How do you go from 20 or 50 or 100 pages of individual poems to a chapbook or book manuscript that you’re ready to send to publishers? This class will offer a range of methods for assembling a poetry collection, including questions and exercises that will help you identify themes in your writing, experiment with sequence and structure, and recognize opportunities for revision or further development. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask your questions about publication, and you’ll leave the class with a list of additional steps you can take before hitting “send” on your manuscript.

Session 4 | Saturday 3:30-5pm

NEW! Brown | The Uses of The Body

NEW! Brown | The Uses of The Body

In many ways, every story is about the body. No one lives apart from theirs, and so no writer, speaker or character exists fully removed from the simultaneously fragile and indispensable fact of a corporeal existence. Stories are lived in bodies and made in them; language itself is created in breathing and muscle, in gesture, […]

Marshall | Poetic Turns and Last Lines

Marshall | Poetic Turns and Last Lines

In this workshop, we will look at the turns and concluding or lines of poems and discuss how the writers establish a clear situation and then surprise the reader and open up the poem. We discuss and what makes interesting and compelling endings and answer the questions: What makes readers read it again? What makes a reader put a poem down and never revisit it? Then we’ll write in response to a prompt using some of the techniques we discuss. This workshop is designed to generate new work. You’ll leave with strategies you can use in your own work.

Session 5 | Sunday 9-10:30am

Marshall | Exploring the Underbelly

Marshall | Exploring the Underbelly

In this revision workshop, participants will discuss the specifics of the nebulous and idiosyncratic practice of revision. Together, we will examine a published poem in its nascent and then its mature state and discuss the types of changes authors make. Afterward, participants will be led through a revision exercise that invites them to read and re-see syntax, line, diction, sonic texture, redundancy, and content. Participants will need to arrive with some works in progress.

Chen | Attending to Our Breathing: Exploring Space and the Line

Chen | Attending to Our Breathing: Exploring Space and the Line

Poetry and hybrid forms often circle around the space between the lines, what’s underneath the surface. In this workshop, we will consider the breath in our writing via a consideration of the white space and line break in our writings.

Session 6 | Sunday 11am-12:30pm

NEW! Coffin | Making Your Page Poem into a Performance Piece

NEW! Coffin | Making Your Page Poem into a Performance Piece

Decades ago, Lyn Coffin was on the SLAM team Ann Arbor sent to the National competition in Austin, Texas. She was inspired by the many great performance poems she heard and has a deep love of performance poetry, as well as “academic” or formal poetry. Almost the entire class will be devoted to workshopping the […]

Dickman | Ode to an Enemy

Dickman | Ode to an Enemy

I believe that empathy is one of the most powerful ingredients found in the creative act of writing. In this spirit we will visit the celebratory form of odes: briefly look at its history, read some examples from Neruda and others, and write one ourselves though not to a Grecian Urn but instead to a perceived enemy.

Bradfield | Self-Ekphrasis

Bradfield | Self-Ekphrasis

Are you a painter, photographer, cartoonist, sculptor AND poet? What are the possibilities and pitfalls of inviting your own visual art to rest alongside poetry? How can image and text sing, complicate, harmonize with and not merely repeat one another? From broadsides to haibun to erasures to other pairings, we’ll examine and explore how the […]

Session 7 | Sunday 1:30-3pm

Wray | Queering the Nature Poem

Wray | Queering the Nature Poem

Given all the assumptions we tend to bring to biology, a consideration of the queerness in nature has drawn the attention of many poets. From Bruce Snider’s recent work, such as “After Reading the Wikipedia Entry on Homosexual Behavior in Moths” to Natalie Diaz’s gorgeous river verse in Postcolonial Love Poem, which as a collection […]