RHINO Poetry Forum: Workshop with Matt Kelsey | SUNDAY 09-25-16



Evanston Public Library

ROOM 108 – Small Meeting Room

Church & Orrington




Matt Kelsey is the webmaster for RHINO, and teaches at Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and teaching fellowships from the University of Washington for their writing programs in Rome and Friday Harbor. His writing has appeared in Beloit Poetry JournalBest New PoetsPacifica Literary Review, and elsewhere.

Topic: Difficult Laughter. Humor is complicated and often uncomfortable. It can even seem, at first glance, discordant with the trademark earnestness of contemporary poetics. But we shouldn’t so quickly relegate humor to the ranks of insincerity and deflection. As the late and uniquely insightful Max Ritvo wrote, “Humor isn’t a shield, a repellant, it’s almost a mnemonic device. It makes our sadness rhyme with joy, and that makes it a catchy jingle…I think we seek out humor because we like completeness. Truth, even. Sadness is completed by humor, not diffused or obscured by it.” We’ll use Ritvo’s words (along with Lacey Jane Henson’s and Cody Walker’s) as a lamp while we explore humorous poems by James Tate, Dorothea Lasky, Ashley Capps, and Michael Bazzett. Once we’ve identified the functions of humor in each poem, we’ll determine how we might expand the tonal range of our own writing.

Drop in, have poems critiqued, and participate in an ongoing discussion of poetry and poetics. Sessions are free* and no registration is required.

Bring 15 or more copies (2 page limit) of a poem you want critiqued.

This project is partially supported by grants from: Poets & Writers, the Illinois Arts Council and The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Comments are closed.