Beyond the Lyrical “I”: Using Documentary Research in Poems Exploring Political & Social Issues

Martha Collins's picture
Martha Collins
Week 7: July 22 to July 27
ORIENTATION: July 22, 6:00-7:30 PM
WORKSHOP: July 23-27, 9am-Noon
Discipline: Poetry
Open to All

Workshop Description 

This workshop is part of Social Justice Week.

Poetry that engages our social as well as personal sensibilities often utilizes documentary material. In this workshop, we will focus on moving beyond personal experience and into material that involves historical, socio-political, or other research, without sacrificing personal involvement and feeling. You needn't have written this kind of poetry before. But you will be encouraged to explore and utilize documentary material in new work during the week, and to pursue research online or in the Provincetown Library, to which we will make a brief field trip after the first session. All classes will include discussion of published poems and suggestions about how to move beyond the lyrical "I." But the primary focus will be on your own work, either new poems or poems (or sections of poems) on which you're already working.


Martha Collins' most recent books of poems are Night Unto Night (2018) and Admit One: An American Scrapbook (2016). Collins has also published four volumes of co-translated Vietnamese poetry, and has won numerous awards for her work. Founder of the creative writing program at UMass-Boston, she served as Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College for ten years. Her tenth book of poems, Because What Else Could I Do, is forthcoming from Pittsburgh in Fall 2019.