Writing the Political Poem
What makes a poem political, and what makes a political poem good? Is it harder or easier, in the current American political climate to write political poetry? Can poems change anything in the world anyway? What are political poems for? This workshop aims to help you find formats and strategies to write good, effective political poems, working especially where political and personal materials intersect. We’ll read and discuss poems old and contemporary, in English and in translation (readings could include Eleanor Wilner, Nazim Hikmet, Layli Long Soldier, Terrance Hayes, Colette Bryce, EE Cummings, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Jill McDonough, Charles Bernstein, Wislawa Szymborska, Frederick Seidel, Liu Xiaobo). And you will generate (to prompts, for those who want them) at least four new poems—one per week—and receive frank, supportive feedback on all of them.
Daisy Fried is poetry editor of the literary resistance journal Scoundrel Time, and author of three books of poems: Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice, named one of the five best poetry books of 2013 by Library Journal, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and She Didn’t Mean to Do It, which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. She reviews poetry books for the New York Times, Poetry, Threepenny Review and elsewhere, and received Poetry magazine’s Editor’s Prize for a Feature Article for “Sing God-Awful Muse,” an essay about reading Paradise Lost and breastfeeding. For her poetry, she's received Guggenheim, Hodder and Pew Fellowship, as well as a Pushcart Prize and the Cohen Award from Ploughshares. Her poems have appeared in London Review of Books, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, American Poetry Review, Poetry International, Threepenny Review, Best American Poetry and elsewhere. She lives in South Philadelphia and is on the faculty of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.