Writing Social Justice in Poetry and Essays
At one point in my writing mostly autobiographical poetry and essays/memoir, I got some sage advice from my mentor, Adrienne Rich, who told me that it was time to extend my reach outward, beyond the self, with writing that let in more of the world. In this way, she was advocating for finding the language to talk about the earth, the fires on fire on the earth, the animals, the environment, climate warming, politics and social justice, the economy and any issue which one feels passionate about. In this workshop, we will read essays and poems that face the world as it is in real time, and write our own poems and essays that face that world applying research, if called for, and our singular vision, or despair or hope. Our reading list will include work(s) by Rebecca Solnit, Chase Twitchell, Sharon Olds, James Baldwin, David Wallace-Wells, Elizabeth Kolbert, Joy Harjo, Tracy K. Smith, Dorianne Laux and Adrienne Rich.
Michael Klein is a five-time Lambda Literary Award finalist and two-time winner in poetry. He has also written two autobiographical works, both published by University of Wisconsin Press:Track Conditions, regarding his life on the racetrack with Kentucky Derby winner, Swale, andThe End of Being Known, a book of linked essays on sex and friendship. His latest book of prose and poetry is When I Was a Twin and is currently working on a book with the working title: Radical Loneliness and the Imaginary Life. He lives in New York and teaches at Hunter College.