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Brian Tierney: Poetry Revision Boot Camp

1 Saturday & 1 Sunday, August 5 – August 6, 10am-4pm  Berkeley   
$240 members/$260 non-members 

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For most writers, a poem rarely, if ever, emerges on the page as a finished thing. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey has said: “Once or twice, I’ve had a dream of a fully formed poem, but I spend years revising a single one.” In order to evolve a first draft toward its fullest realization, a poet must step back and re-read, re-evaluate, and retool: in other words, revise.

“To established and fledgling writers alike, revising can feel even more intimidating than a blank page,” says instructor Brian Tierney. “It is natural, when creating something with words, to become attached to certain phrases, sounds, beginnings, endings—what writers have called darlings; sometimes, that fear of losing our first, treasured impulses holds us back from decision-making and craft. Knowing what to change and how to change it are difficult considerations, but key to developing one’s poetic instincts.”

During this weekend intensive boot camp, you will learn about the craft and the practice of revision, specifically focusing on how to re-engage your own work with a readiness and curiosity to change it.

We will discuss drafts of poems by established writers, alongside those writers’ finished products, in order to gain insight into the decision-making process during revision. You will receive learning prompts and exercises for revising a poem—strategies that you will be able to carry into your own writing lives. You will also have an opportunity for in-depth feedback on a single poem during a workshop. All writers are welcome.

Brian Tierney is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. He is a graduate of the Bennington College’s MFA Writing Seminars, and holds a BA in English and Journalism, as well as an MA in Literature, from Duquesne University, where he was a teaching fellow and, later, an adjunct instructor in Literature and Composition. Brian’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming in: Kenyon Review, FIELD, Poetry Northwest, Gettysburg Review, Best New Poets, AGNI, Ninth Letter, The Rumpus, and others. In 2013, Narrative magazine named him among its “30 Below 30” emerging writers.


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