Saturday, May 19, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Thayer Memorial Library
Poem-Patterns: New Dance Steps in Writing Poetry, with Alan Feldman
There are many more poems in us than we think. Each time we set out to make a poem by following a pattern we discern in a poem by someone else, we draw more out of ourselves than we might have included if we had no pattern in mind. More than mere prompts, these poem-patterns don’t require any specific kind of subject, but guide the writer by asking for certain kinds of rhetorical moves, a certain kind of “dance step.” In this two-hour workshop, we’re going to write two poems using two very different patterns. Even more important, we’ll explore how to read by looking for patterns, so that, going forward, we’ll be able to find a way of responding to poems we enjoy by writing other poems that are completely our own (and that few would guess were inspired by the originals) but that are built more variously than the ones we’d probably build alone.
Alan Feldman is the author of several collections of poetry, including Immortality (2015), winner of the Four Lakes Prize; A Sail to Great Island (2004), winner of Pollak Prize for Poetry; and The Happy Genius (1978), winner of the annual George Elliston Book Award for the best collection published by a small, U.S. non-profit press. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, and Kenyon Review, among many other magazines, and included in The Best American Poetry anthology in 2001 and 2011. Feldman’s recent work appears in Hanging Loose, Cimarron Review, upstreet, Southern Review, Yale Review, Salamander, Southwest Review, Cincinnati Review, Catamaran, Worcester Review, and online in Boston Poetry Magazine and Cortland Review. His poem “A Man and A Woman” was featured in Tony Hoagland’s 2013 article for Harper’s, “Twenty Little Poems That Could Save America.”
Feldman was a professor and chair of English at Framingham State University, and for 22 years taught the advanced creative writing class at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Seminars. He offers free, drop-in poetry workshops at the Framingham (MA) public library near his home, and in the summer at the Wellfleet library.