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Writing Toward More Socially Just Futures, A Poetry Workshop with Emmy Pérez

July 23, 2020


Thursdays, July 23rd & 30th, 6:30-8:30pm, Online via Zoom
Cost: $100 Non-members, $85 Members, $75 Student
Limited to 15 Students.

One of Lucille Clifton’s most well-known poems “won’t you celebrate with me” ends with the lines: “come celebrate / with me that everyday / something has tried to kill me / and has failed.” It’s the kind of poem that many re-read during challenging times. Toni Morrison described Clifton’s work as “seductive with the simplicity of an atom, which is to say highly complex, explosive underneath an apparent quietude.” In this poetry workshop, we will study some of Clifton’s poetry and consider how a single poem, and sometimes a single line, can embody pasts / presents / futures all at once and help us praise the beauty of life as we mourn lives lost to structural injustice throughout history and now. We’ll also discuss work by Danez Smith, Ariana Brown, and Ross Gay, and generate work infused with the sensibility that writing poetry is an urgency to know, thrive, and create change.

Class Full

Emmy Pérez, Texas Poet Laureate 2020, has lived in the Texas borderlands for the past 20 years, the first six in El Paso where she hasfamily roots before she moved to McAllen where she currently lives. She is the author of With the River on Our Face (University of Arizona Press, 2016) and Solstice (Swan Scythe Press, 2019). A collection of her new and selected poems is forthcoming from TCU Press. She is a recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, CantoMundo, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She has also received the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Award, the Modesta Avila Award, and the James D. Phelan Award. A member of the Macondo Writers Workshop for socially engaged writers, Pérez co-founded the Poets Against Walls collective in 2017. She’s currently Professor of Creative Writing and teaches in the MFA and undergraduate creative writing programs at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).



July 23, 2020
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Alexandra van de Kamp