poetry MFA summer residency, days 8 & 9

collapsed (demolished?) building behind main street, ashland, ohio

collapsed (demolished?) building behind main street, ashland, ohio

days 8 & 9 of the residency = the weekend!!

there were still events, but we had a little bit of time off. there was a publishing panel saturday morning, alumni readings sunday afternoon and a visiting writer reading sunday night ( with linda gregerson; see below). i hadn’t anticipated being so tired. except for some upkeep of my running routine and walking between buildings on campus, we — quite literally — were “butts in chairs.” i didn’t realize how exhausting that could be, but we were immersed in the work for 6-7 hours/day, with time spent on reading and writing assignments additional. so the weekend between workshop weeks was much like other weekends at home: try to get some extra sleep and get together with (new) pals for some downtime, i.e. food off campus!

the reading
it was a delight to hear linda gregerson read! she’s a trained actor and performs each poem beautifully, as if each is a fully developed  play. her poems have drama and tension, they have heightened language and they take leaps. these are all qualities the faculty here would like for us to learn, and it’s quite a treat to hear such a pure example of it. much of her work is, very simply, stunning. consider this poem, which she read with such tenderness and vulnerability: “prodigal.

linda interrupted her reading very little, primarily only to give us tidbits that could help us with the aural experience of the poem. however, she did say a couple things, which would also enter her craft talk the next day:

  • “let your poems ambush you.”
  • “let your poems take you where you didn’t know you were going.”
  • give yourself some work to do, but “leave it porous enough so other things can sneak in.”

***

past posts on the summer residency:
MFA summer residency days 1 & 2 (july 27 & 28)
MFA summer residency days 3, 4 & 5 (july 29-31)
MFA summer residency days 6 & 7 (august 1 & 2)

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