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Erica with participant.jpgSince 1999, nearly 1000 emerging poets have participated in Cave Canem’s community-based workshops, rare opportunities to work with accomplished poets for free or low-cost fees. Limited to an enrollment of 12-15, eight and ten-session workshops offer rigorous instruction, careful critique and an introduction to the work of established poets—all within the welcoming environment of our Brooklyn, NY loft.

 “New Chords and Hauntings” with R.A. Villanueva

Two ideas power the imaginative work of these coming weeks. The first, from Carl Phillips: “We are, each of us, uniquely haunted…[and so our poems are] a form of negotiation with what haunts us;” the second, from CA Conrad: “We are not alone in our particular stew of molecules and the sooner we admit, even admire the influence of this world, the freer we will be to construct new chords of thought without fear.” In this course, we will complicate—and celebrate—your fascinations, exploring what drives you to make the kinds of poems only you can. We will provoke new drafts through play and collaboration, remixing approaches to sound, structure, and spontaneity. Expect meetings dedicated to generative writing, reading innovative poets (think Vievee Francis, Malika Booker, Anne Carson, Sarah Howe, Patrick Rosal, Natalie Diaz, Solmaz Sharif, Tyehimba Jess), and conversations about the matter and melody of all you create.

Dates: Tuesdays, 6-9 pm. February 27; March 6, 20, 27; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1; culminating reading: May 8.

Where: Cave Canem, 20 Jay Street, Suite 310-A, Brooklyn, NY.

Who’s eligible:

  • Adult poets of color living in New York City’s five boroughs.
  • Individuals who are not enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program.
  • Individuals who can commit to attending all ten sessions.
  • Individuals who are not Cave Canem fellows.
  • Writers who have not published more than one collection of poetry with a commercial press.

This is a tuition-free workshop, funded by The Jerome Foundation. The instructor will review applications and select up to 15 participants, with preference given to individuals who have attended fewer than three Cave Canem workshops.

The deadline to apply is January 31, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST.
Applicants will be notified by February 14, 2018.
Applications will be accepted via Submittable only.

Click here to apply.

RAVillanueva (photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths)R. A. Villanueva’s debut collection, Reliquaria (U. Nebraska Press, 2014), won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His new writing appears in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Guernica, Prac Crit, and widely elsewhere. Villanueva’s honors include commendations from the Forward Prizes, Ninth Letter Literary Award, and fellowships from Kundiman, the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, and The Asian American Literary Review. A founding editor of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art, he lives in Brooklyn.


“Watch Your Tone” with Nathan McClain

In this workshop, we will focus our attention on the function of tone in our poems as a way of communicating and deepening their emotive charges. We will examine a few of the numerous craft elements that contribute to a poem’s tonal register, such as sound, detail, image, syntax, form, music, and how these tools might signal tonal shifts within a poem or complicate a poem’s emotional depth. We will also consider how elements of tone create tension and counterbalance within poems. The aim is to draft and revise poems that engage in some serious play and think about how even playfulness or seriousness are carefully crafted things.

Dates: Thursdays, 6-8:30 pm. March 1, 15, 22 & 29; April 5, 12, 19; culminating reading: May 3.

Where: Cave Canem Foundation, 20 Jay Street, Suite 310-A, Brooklyn, NY

Who’s eligible:

  • Adult poets of color living in New York City’s five boroughs.
  • Poets at the early-to-intermediate stage of their writing endeavors.
  • Individuals who can commit to attending all eight sessions.
  • Individuals who are not enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program.
  • Individuals who are not Cave Canem fellows.
  • Writers who have not  published more than one collection of poetry with a commercial press.

Fee: $30 – $240 (Choose the amount that’s right for you.)

Up to 15 participants will be selected by lottery, with preference given to applicants who have attended fewer than three workshops. Applications will be accepted via Submittable only.

The deadline to apply is January 31st, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST.  Applicants will be notified by February 14, 2018. Applications will be accepted via Submittable only.

Click here to apply. 

a (39)Nathan McClain is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), recipient of the 2017 Gregory Pardlo Fellowship from The Frost Place, and a graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. A Cave Canem fellow, his poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Callaloo, Ploughshares, The Southeast Review, Broadsided, Tinderbox, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative writing at Drew University.

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Funder, New York City Fall and Spring Workshops: Jerome Foundation

Funders, Poetry Conversations Workshops: This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; Amazon Literary Partnership; conEdison Consolidated Edison Company of New York; National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the Whiting Foundation.

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