COME AND TRY OUT YOUR NEW WORK ON US!
Evanston Public Library
Church & Orrington
1:30-4:30 — Room 108
Past leaders and readers and all poets welcome. Drop in, have poems critiqued, and participate in an ongoing discussion of poetry and poetics. Sessions are free* and no registration is required.
Allan Johnston’s poems have been published in Poetry, Poetry East, Rhino, and over sixty other journals. He is the author of Tasks of Survival and of Northport, a collection of poems about his life in the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s, and is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, Pushcart Prize nomination (2009), and First Prize in the 2010 Outrider Press Literary Anthology Poetry Contest. He has also received honorable mentions or placed as a finalist in contests featured by New Letters, The Academy of American Poets, Salute to the Arts, and the Roberts Writing Foundation. Originally from California, he earned his M.A. in Creative Writing and his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis, and now teaches writing and literature at Columbia College and DePaul University in Chicago. He currently serves as a reader for the Illinois Emerging Poets competition and for Word River, and is editor of the Journal for the Philosophical Study of Education. In the past he has worked as a sheepherder, shake splitter, roofer, forest fire fighter, Indian cook, and photographer, among other occupations.
TOPIC: USING THE PERSONA IN A LONG POEM–OR A SHORT ONE.
Who am I? No, this is not necessarily the path to enlightenment, though apparently it worked for the Ramana Maharshi. The question posed here is, What do we mean by the “I” that dominates so much of poetry? Is the “I” in a poem lyrical, narrative, autobiographical, dramatic, or some combination of these? How does “I” function as a linguistic device and aesthetic center? Is “I” someone other than “us” in the poem, as Rimbaud famously suggested when he wrote that “I is an other” (“je est un autre”)? What do we mean when we suggest that “I” am a character in my poem?
This workshop will consider lyric, autobiographical, narrative, and dramatic uses of “I” as a central structuring device in poetry. I encourage everyone to bring in work (your own or someone else’s), as well as works with other points of view, even poems that shift points of view. I will provide some autobiographical, narrative and dramatic examples, including samples of revision.
Bring 18 – 20 copies of a poem (2 page limit) you want critiqued.*$5 – $10 donation appreciated.
This project has been partially supported by grants from Poets & Writers and the Illinois Arts Council.