It’s easy to forget, but poetry belongs to the body. Often, our senses know how to respond to a poem’s power before our minds can work out its exact meaning. Maybe this is what Emily Dickinson meant when she said that poetry began for her as a physical thrill.
Instructor Ben Jackson says, “In this class we will remain true to poetry’s roots in physicality, by exploring how form relates to and inspires feeling of all sorts…from goose bumps to lump-in-your-throat sadness to contagious joy.”
“During our five weeks together, we will write our own poetry while focusing on several elements of the lyric poem—sound, metaphor, voice, and syntax. I will provide examples that help you learn to identify and employ these sometimes intimidating elements. Together, we will figure out how these formal parts work together in good poems, and we will begin to use them in our own writing. Trusting our senses, we won’t be afraid to read out loud, laugh suddenly, or get choked up.”
Participants will come away with several new poems. They will also gain exposure to the wide variety of lyric poetry being written today. First-time poets are welcome, as well as those with more experience.
Ben Jackson has taught poetry to students from the second grade up to the college level. His poems have appeared in New England Review, Southern Review, Hudson Review, FIELD, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. His awards include the 2015 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry as well as residencies from Vermont Studio Center, Jentel Artist Residency Program, and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, he is the director of The Writing Salon.