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Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop: The Goods

2014 October 17

The Writing Life

If you read my review last week, you know I was pretty impressed with Tin House’s Summer Writers Workshop this past July. Not only did I develop creative relationships and get some great feedback on my work, but I also left with a *few* reading suggestions. Okay, the reading list is ABSURD. But if you’re anything like me, and you believe that reading will improve your writing, then lists like these from people I hold in high regard are like gold. And so, I share the wealth:

Campbell McGrath – Capitalism (Wesleyan New Poets)

Campbell McGrath – American Noise (Ecco Press)

Campbell McGrath – Spring Comes to Chicago (Ecco Press)

          I have become a complete disciple of Campbell McGrath. No other voice (that I’ve found) encapsulates the identity of this nation, in this millennium, with as much subtlety, poise, and formal consideration as McGrath. 

Charles Wright – Bloodlines (Wesleyan Poetry Program)

D. A. Levy – Suburban Monastery Death Poem (Crisis Chronicles Press)

Dawn McGuire – The Aphasia Cafe (IFSF Publishers)

Derek Walcott – The Schooner Flight

Derek Walcott – Omeros

          My workshop group spent a good deal of time considering form. Omeros is an epic poem in terza rima, and our conversation of Derek Walcott, also led us to Edward Kamau Braithwaite—another poet attending to the African diaspora.

Edward Dorn – Gunslinger (Duke University Press)

Edward Kamau Brathwaite – The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy (Oxford University Press)

Edward Kamau Braithwaite – Mother Poem (1977)

Edward Kamau Braithwaite – Sun Poem (1982)

Ellen Bryant Voigt – Kyrie (W. W. Norton & Company)

Gwendolyn Brooks – “We Real Cool” (originally published in The Bean Eaters [1960])

          With Kevin Young as my workshop leader, sound and music were frequent topics in conversation. Poems like “We Real Cool” are concise examples of precision and rhythm in a poem. 

Jim Harrison – Letters to Yesenin (Copper Canyon Press)

Jo Ann Beard – “The Fourth State of Matter,” in The Boys of My Youth (Back Bay Books)

          Jo Ann Beard was a faculty member at the workshop. I haven’t read The Boys of My Youth yet, but if her prose is half as wise as her lecture was last summer, I expect to be blown away. 

Julia Story – Post Moxie: Poems (Sarabande Books)

June Jordan – “Poem About My Feelings”

Karen Volkman – Spar (University of Iowa Press)

Kevin Young – Jelly Roll: A Blues (Knopf)

Larry Levis – Wrecking Crew (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Matthea Harvey – Modern Life (Graywolf Press)

Maurice Manning – The Gone and the Going Away (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Muriel Rukeyser – “Effort at Speech Between Two People” (originally published in Theory of Flight [1935])

          Enjoy this poem here!

Natalie Diaz – My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press)

Paige Ackerson Keily – My Love is a Dead Arctic Explorer (Ahsahta)

          Come on! With a title like that (My Love is a Dead Arctic Explorer) how could you NOT want to dig into this book of poetry?!

Rochelle Hurt – The Rusted City (White Pine Press)

Sally Wen Mao – Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books)

T. Crunk  – Living in the Resurrection (Yale University Press)

Ted Berrigan – The Sonnets

          I admit, bashfully, that I did not know Ted Berrigan’s name before this summer. A “late Beat,” Berrigan became famous for The Sonnets, reissued by Grove Press in 1966, and influenced by T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.

W. S. Merwin – Finding the Islands (San Francisco: North Point Press)

Walid Bitar – 2 Guys on Holy Land (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

Wallace Stevens – Harmonium

Yusef Komunyakka- Copacetic (Wesleyan New Poets)

The Party Train: A Collection of North American Prose Poetry (New Rivers Press)

There you have it! Now I know what you’ll be reading this winter so… see you next spring! Speaking of which, if at any point between now and then you decide this workshop might be right for you, get your application in for the rolling admissions process. Scholarship applications are due March 25, 2015.

 

 

 

 

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