Since 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 15, these ten-session workshops offer rigorous instruction, careful critique, and an introduction to the work of several poets.
With support from the Poetry Foundation, Cave Canem’s 2023 Regional Workshops are now available to participants outside of New York City.
This year, Spring 2023 workshops will take place in Montgomery, Alabama; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and of course, at the Cave Canem headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.
Regional workshops are in-person, tuition-free, and free to apply. To be considered, please submit a cover letter and five original poems to our Submittable.
Regional Workshop (Alabama): “The Self as Inspiration:” Looking Inward to Explore the Larger World with Jacqueline Trimble
March 9th – May 11th
Thursdays, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (CDT) | Public Reading May 8th
Armory Learning Arts Center
1010 Forest Ave
Visit our Submittable Page to Apply by February 6, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EST
Much of the work of poets such as Lucille Clifton, Mary Oliver, and Sharon Olds seems rooted in the lives of the poets themselves. How do these poets and others use their own lives to say something about their larger context, about a truth that resonates with or connects to the lives of others? This generative workshop will mine the self as a source for writing poems about the world outside the self. Participants will examine the work of others and then, using prompts and exercises, take a closer look at their physical and geographical selves as source material, to arrive at some poetic observations about how we live. Poets will experiment with forms (epistolary, narrative, fractured lyric, etc.) and explore the self as inspiration, or as Richard Hugo might call it, the “triggering town”, moving beyond poetry that simply looks inward but that uses the inward glance to do more than describe the self.
Submissions to this workshop are free and open to Black Montgomery residents.
Applications close on February 6th at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Jacqueline Trimble lives and writes in Montgomery, Alabama. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow and an Alabama State Council on the Arts Literary Fellow. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, including Poetry, The Offing, and Poet Lore, and has also been featured by Poetry Daily. Trimble’s writing has been anthologized in The Night’s Magician, Southern Writers on Writing, and most recently, The Beautiful: Poets Reimagine America. She has also written 13 episodes of Die Testament, a South African soap opera. Her debut poetry collection, American Happiness, was named the Best Book of 2016 by Seven Sisters Book Awards and won the Balcones Poetry Prize. Her latest collection, How to Survive the Apocalypse, was published in 2022. Trimble is a Professor of English and Chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures at Alabama State University.
Regional Workshops (Minnesota): “Laboratory Poetics” with Danez Smith
March 15th – May 17th
Wednesdays, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (CDT) | Public Reading May 17th
Loft Literary Center
1011 Washington Avenue South
Visit our Submittable to apply by February 12th at 11:59 p.m. EST
Poets often reach towards specific forms to propel or control a poem, they also might reach for a bit of challenge or exploration—but what if we go beyond sonnets or sestinas, and instead choose an experiment of our own design? While free verse poetry has always been a succulent wilderness to venture into in search of a poem, the constraints, and encouragements of a bespoke form have allowed for reverberations that would not have been found unless constructed in the limits of invented form. “Constraint” doesn’t always mean limitation when it comes to form. Constraints are agreements between the poet and the form. A constraint can be used to hinder or control, but it can also encourage abundance and play. In this workshop, participants will explore the wonders found in recently invented forms like the Bop, the burning haibun, and the Markov Sonnet before focusing on forms patterned themselves. This workshop is for those looking to push the limits on their work and those looking to take the brakes off completely.
Open to Black Minneapolis residents.
Applications close on February 12th at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Danez Smith is the author of three collections, including Homie and Don’t Call Us Dead. For their work, Danez won the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and have been a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in Poetry, the National Book Critic Circle Award, and the National Book Award. Danez’s poetry and prose has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, Best American Poetry, and on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective. Former co-host of the Webby-nominated podcast VS (Versus), they live in Minneapolis near their people.
Regional Workshop (New York City): “LOVE, Above All Things” with Falú
March 22nd – May 24th
Wednesdays, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (EST) | Public Reading May 24th
20 Jay Street, 310A, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Visit our Submittable to apply by February 19th at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Shortening the distance between academia and authenticity, “LOVE, Above All Things” investigates the sweet spot connecting conventional craft and the writer’s voice. This series will focus on themes like love and forgiveness. This is a generative writing workshop where participants will build upon a single work for the first hour. The remaining time will be dedicated to analyzing and discussing artists ranging from bell hooks to Pusha T, Du Bois to Lizzo in an effort to create new work that reflects us and only us.
Open to Black New York City residents.
Applications close on February 19th at 11:59 p.m. EST.
A graduate of Pratt’s MFA Writing in Activism Program and a Master of Social Work student at Stony Brook University, Falú works as a Social Worker, as well as a traveling teaching artist. An International Slam Champion and Cave Canem Fellow, she has been published in several anthologies and uses her writing as activism work for several organizations. Falú’s other projects include “Niggas Die Everyday,” an art gallery and exhibit she co-curated, and her one-woman show turned writing workshop, “Love, Above All Things.” She is a mother of two, a loyal Brooklynite, and believes in fashion. Seriously.
Visit our Submittable to Apply
QUESTIONS? Email us at [email protected].
Funders, Poetry Conversations Workshops: This program is funded in part by the Poetry Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Amazon Literary Partnership; conEdison Consolidated Edison Company of New York; National Endowment for the Arts; and New York State Council on the Arts.