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Erica with participant.jpgSince 1999, nearly 900 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-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.


Fall 2016 Workshop: “The Bop,” with Afaa M. Weaver

Dates:  Wednesdays, 6-9 pm
September 21 and 28; October 5, 12 and 26; November 2, 9 and 16; December 7 and 14.
Where:  Cave Canem, 20 Jay Street, Suite 310-A, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

This Jerome Foundation-funded workshop will explore the recent invention of the Bop, created during a Cave Canem retreat. Participants will delve into a deep study of this poetic form with its inventor. Not unlike the Shakespearean sonnet in trajectory, the Bop is a form of poetic argument comprising three stanzas, each stanza followed by a repeated line, or refrain, and each undertaking a different purpose in the overall argument of the poem.

The deadline to submit is September 1 at 11:59 pm EST. Applicants will be notified by September 8.

Applications will be accepted via Submittable only. Click here to apply.

Open to adult black poets of African descent living in New York City’s five boroughs. Instructor selects participants on the basis of work submitted. Preference is given to applicants who have enrolled in fewer than three Cave Canem workshops. Tuition is free.

Exclusions: Cave Canem fellows, individuals enrolled full-time in degree-granting programs, and writers who have published more than one collection of poetry with a commercial press.

Weaver colorPoet, critic and scholar Afaa M. Weaver has published 12 books of poetry, most recently, The Government of Nature (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize, and City of Eternal Spring (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). He is the recipient of a Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a PEW fellowship in Poetry. A Fulbright Scholar, he is Alumnae Professor of English at Simmons College, where he convenes an international festival of contemporary Chinese poetry.

Fall 2016 Poetry Conversations: “The Playing Field” with Camille Rankine

Monday Evenings, 6-8:30 pm; September 12, 19, 26; October 3, 10, 17 & 24; Final Reading with potluck refreshments: Monday, November 7, 2016; 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
Cave Canem Foundation, 20 Jay Street, Suite 310-A, Brooklyn, NY

“It’s like in architecture, where the medium is not really stone or metal, but space. We use materials—brick, glass, whatever—to inflect the immaterial, space. I would say that the real medium of poetry is inner space, the silence of our deepest interior.”—Li-Young Lee

What shape should our words take? How does the space of the page speak in a poem? How does a poem’s form affect its music, the way it tells a story, the way it makes us feel? In this workshop, we’ll explore the field of the page and find ways of bending the poetic form to best express the ideas and emotions at play within the work. Through readings, discussions and writing exercises, we’ll examine different methods of employing the line, the line break, white space, breath, sound and silence to build the sensory world of a poem.

Camille Rankine’s first full-length collection of poetry, Incorrect Merciful Impulses was published by Copper Canyon Press in January 2016. She is the author of the chapbook Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America’s 2010 New York Chapbook Fellowship, and a recipient of a 2010 “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Atlas Review, American Poet, The Baffler, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Octopus Magazine, Paper Darts, Phantom Books, A Public Space, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is a visiting professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst’s MFA for Poets and Writers, and lives in New York City.

Selection for this workshop is by lottery, with preference given to applicants who have attended fewer than three workshops.

Applications will be accepted via Submittable only. Click here to apply.

Who’s eligible:

  • Adult poets of color at the early-to-intermediate stage of their writing endeavors.
  • Individuals who are not enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program.
  • Individuals who commit to attending all eight sessions.

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

The deadline to submit is August 29, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST. Applicants will be notified by August 30, 2016.


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

Funders, Poetry Conversations Workshops: conEdison Consolidated Edison Company of New York, National Endowment for the Arts, Public Funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Poets & Writers, and the Whiting Foundation.


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NYSCA - 2016



Whiting Foundation

Con Edison