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An Embrace of the Erratic: Finding Poetic Evolution Beyond Refinement

November 10, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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While most proper instruction on poetry focuses on internalizing craft concepts and refining their execution via emulation and practice (as is true for many artistic disciplines), most working writers invested in relevancy realize that their challenge is not how to get “better” (execution-wise) as a poet—which can be a fairly linear path—but rather how to evolve, how to be a poet who continues to arrive with the times and aesthetics around them. Admittedly, that probably cannot be taught. (If it could, we could teach the essence of artistry—which most teachers accept cannot be “taught.”) But what is possible is to examine strategies and perspectives that might shake us and dislodge other artistic possibilities within us.


Tactically, one can choose erratic movement to avoid getting pinned down in one position—becoming unpredictable, free of controlling expectations. Focusing on the element of “control” and that much of existing creative pedagogy is a form of control, how do we move away from what we have learned (and may have needed to learn), from what we have taught ourselves (and may have needed to teach ourselves), in order to release new artistic selves from within us to express? Can we move erratically as a jolt towards evolution? This seminar will focus on an introductory discussion of creative concepts and example poems, generative writing, and group reflection and guidance.


This masterclass is virtual. Click here to register.


Kyle Dargan is the author of the poetry collection Anagnorisis (TriQuarterly/Northwestern UP, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and longlisted for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His four previous collections, Honest Engine (2015), Logorrhea Dementia (2010), Bouquet of Hungers (2007), and The Listening (2003)–were all published by the University of Georgia Press. For his work, he has received the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. His books have also been finalists for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Eric Hoffer Awards Grand Prize. Dargan has partnered with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities to produce poetry programming at the White House and Library of Congress. He’s worked with and supports a number of youth writing organizations, such as 826DC, Writopia Lab, Young Writers Workshop, and the Dodge Poetry high schools program. He is currently an Associate Professor of literature and Asst. Director of creative writing at American University, as well as the founder and editor of POST NO ILLS magazine. He also works as a Managing Editor for Janelle Monae’s creative company, Wondaland. Originally from Newark, New Jersey, Dargan is a graduate of Saint Benedict’s Prep, The University of Virginia, and Indiana University.


November 10, 2021
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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