Craft Talk

When I was younger and living in Zebulon, North Carolina during the summer we would visit the local pools in Raleigh. We’ d play a game that many have played; w e’ d go underwater to see who could hold their breath the longest. Many years later, I realized that this game we played as children has a lot to do with the architecture of a poem and the way we move from Identity to the Subconsciousn where many of our images come from. Workshop Topic: I’ve entitled this workshop: “Writing the I-- Giving Our Poems Identity”. The workshop will be framed around the essay Invisible Architecture (2000) by Barbara Guest and Coming to the “I” by Vievee Francis, an interview with the Indiana Review. The moment the poet comes up for air (consciousness vs subconscious), the poem starts to develop identity. The moment the poet submerges in the subconscious, the images of the poem begin to develop. The poet’s personal narrative and the symbols in the poem frame the structure and emotional connection to images.

Read Invisible Architecture (2000) by Barbara Guest before the first workshop. You can find it here at Poetry Foundation:

Read Coming to the “I” before second day of workshop
You can find it here at Indiana Review:

Done in workshop (over 2 days)

1. What’s your Narrative? (List at least five)
a. Ex. 1. Southerner 2. Black 3. Male 4. Single Mother etc...

2. What symbols are in your work? (List at least five) a. Ex. tobacco, death, dirt, water, gardens

  1. Poem Examples

  2. Poetry Exercises (2 per day)

Poem Examples:

“Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” by James Wright

“Story” By John Balaban,

“Dust” by Dorianne Laux,

“Generation“ by Suji Kwock Kim,

“Canticle” by Yusef Komunyakaa

” Idea of Ancestry” by Etheridge Knight.