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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.
- Saturday, August 5, 10:00am-4:00pm
- Sunday, August 6, 10:00am-4:00pm
Brian is well-organized, very prepared, skillful at crafting the discussions and class dynamic, offers bright and helpful insight in ways that can be heard. The format reminds me of writing workshops I took in college— in a good way. I appreciate the opportunity to read deeply and discuss carefully. I appreciate getting homework. I appreciate the process of workshopping and revision. In short, I love the class— I feel invigorated and enriched by it.
Brian is clearly thoughtful and creative in his organization of the classes, with a fine blend of the poetry of the greats, with our own work in class. He has created an extremely supportive environment for our work, but has invited serious critique of one another's poetry. I really like that, and am looking forward to more poetry at Writing Salon - and with Brian.
This is an enthusiastic endorsement for Brian - I'm a long time educator so I know what to look for. Brian is well planned, knowledgeable and reflective. He's sensitive to the class and to individual needs as well as leading us to a wider appreciation of poetry and helping us to feel our way to what 'good' poetry means. He is careful not to get in the way of our individual creative processes nor to be too prescriptive. I recommend him without reservation.
Even before receiving his academic-quality syllabus and opening day readings, I knew Brian was the real thing. He was prepared, organized, thoughtful. He displays vast poetic knowledge, in an engaging manner, such that everyone learns and hones skill, even tho each poet's playing field varies. Brian also has a commendable grasp of group-facilitation, moving disparate thinkers and writers, of all ages, abilities, attitudes, and anguish - to dwell in their work, go deeper, workshop the writing, re-work it.