Seeing Things

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MARCH 13 – May 15

All ages, Mondays, 7 – 9 PM, 10-week session 

Poetry enables us to “see things”: to see what is and what is not, in the domains of the senses and imagination. We develop our practice of writing by drawing upon both. Workshop participants send one or two new poems each week for the group to consider thoughtfully and respectfully with comments that encourage revision. In theory and practice, the workshop serves as an articulate, responsive audience for the poet, who learns from the members’ responses to the poem. We also write in-session with various prompts and group activities. Since all artists benefit by knowing the history and achievements of their art, we read poets from many time periods and cultures. We read poets with a range of subjects and forms as models for our own practice. We exchange ideas about publishing opportunities in online and print environments. Our agenda can be adjusted depending on the experience and preferences of the poets. While we met in-person for the first two 10-week sessions, we have met since March 2020 online. We also sponsor “Tiny Desk Readings,” which features poets outside the workshop whom we invite to read for 20 minutes at the beginning of a session. The workshop is conducted by Robert Bensen.

Robert Bensen has directed the Seeing Things poetry workshop since 2019.  His poetry has been published in six collections, including Before (Five Oaks Press) and Orenoque, Wetumka (Bright Hill Press). What Lightning Spoke: New and Selected Poems is forthcoming from Bright Hill. Along with non-fiction and literary essays, his poetry has appeared in AGNI, Akwe:kon, Antioch Review, Berfrois, Callaloo, The Caribbean Writer, Jamaica Journal, La presa, Native Realities, The Paris Review, Partisan Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Wales, River Styx, Yankee Magazine, and elsewhere. He has edited anthologies of Native American and Caribbean literature and authored American Indian and Aboriginal Canadian Childhood Studies (Oxford University Press). His writing won a poetry fellowship from the NEA, research fellowships from the NEH and the Newberry Library, a shared Eric Hoffer Award, poetry awards from Harvard University, the New York State Council on the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, the Robert Penn Warren Award. His first book was a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award (Academy of American Poets) and the Emily Dickinson Prize (Poetry Foundation). He is Professor Emeritus at Hartwick College, where he directed the writing programs for 39 years. He also taught at the University of Illinois, Parkland College (Champaign, Illinois) and SUNY Oneonta. He is the founding director of Woodland Arts Editions (Oneonta NY).

Bright Hill Tiny Desk Series to be published in 2022 featuring national poets. 

This virtual workshop runs every Monday for 10 sessions from 7 – 9 PM

SPRING SESSION: March 13 – May 15

Fee: $350

EMAIL to confirm seat availability and register.

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All ages, Mondays, 7 – 9 PM, 10-week session 

“Poets are made of poems from a past that engages them, that embed themselves in whole or in part in their imaginations. Some stick as phrases, others as misremembered lines….There is a tingling in the nerves. A poem starts to happen.” So wrote Michael Schmidt in his massive, 900-page Lives of the Poets.

This fall, the harvest season, we will reap our produce from what poetry has seeded in the fertile soils of our memories and imaginations. Let’s remind ourselves again that poetry brings out of nothing that which is and is not, ripened in our own way of seeing and saying.

We will offer weekly a new poem or revision for the group to respond to with comments that encourage revision.  We will also participate as critical readers to further each other’s work. We will study poems that may (as Schmidt says) “embed themselves” in our image-making powers. We will also consider reading to unlearn our habitual “poet-voice” and unlock the poem’s voice.

This virtual workshop runs every Monday for 10 sessions from 7 – 9 PM

FALL 2022 SESSION: Sept 19 – Nov 21, 2022

Fee: $350

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