Past Workshops and Courses

WITH LOVE AND VIOLENCE: Documentary Poetics and You, Poetry Society of South Carolina, October 2022

I deeply distrust this tool I work with — language. It is a distrust rooted in certain historical events…and I distrust its order, which hides disorder; its logic hiding the logic and its rationality, which is simultaneously irrational.

—M. NourbeSe Philip

The legal documents that intersperse our lives—birth and death and marriage certificates, applications for school and citizenship, contracts—live alongside our personal documents (journals, letters, photographs, notes). In this seminar workshop, we will explore the special work of documentary poetics—history that only poets can write—and how each of us might contribute to a greater understanding of history, culture, and justice/injustice. From Anne Carson’s fanfold, collaged elegy for her brother, Nox, to M. NourbeSe Philip’s fragmentary historiography of the slave ship Zong!, we will think together about engaging the documents of your life and history. Participants are encouraged to bring a document they would like to engage with them for use in workshop. Instructor will also provide documents for use in exercises.

Hauntology, A Poetics, EcoTheo Review, Summer 2022

All over the world—in Greek villages, in the American Southwest, among the Tuareg—blueness repels evil. Blue glass bottles on windowsills keep devils out, and so on. Thus the front door, painted spirit blue, and the vibrant blue canopies above the windows.

—Louise Erdrich, The Sentence

Every writer is haunted—by their subject, their history, their forms. The Gullah Geechee people would paint their porches haint blue to keep away evil, and place blue bottles on broken tree branches to trap evil spirits. What form of blue can hold or contain your ghosts? In this workshop, we’ll explore our writerly haunts and hauntings, and collaboratively investigate ways to approach (and, perhaps, capture) your ghosts. Join us at this generative workshop as we write ghost traps together!

“Dealing with Ghosts” poetry workshop, North Carolina Writers Network, Fall 2021.

Synopsis: What is it that haunts your poetry? This class is concerned with how to write into ghostly presence and ghostly absence in your work—how to approach the spectral histories of your writing. We will look at who and what are treated as ghosts in American poetry—specifically focusing on examples from C.D. Wright and Deborah Luster’s collaborative One Big Self, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, Aracelis Girmay’s The Black Maria and Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead. We will also write responsively to a ghostly prompt together, and discuss practical resources (cemeteries, genealogy, family oral traditions) for engaging your ghosts.

Deep Roots: Exploring Generational Ties to North and South Carolina, with Jaki Shelton Green, Derek Berry, Len Lawson and Ayla Samli. Hosted by the North Carolina Humanities and South Carolina State Library. June 24, 2021.

“Digging Up Bones: Writing Your Past” workshop with Scuppernong Books workshop series: Five Ways of Looking at Poetry. April 29, 2021.

Pedagogy Workshop for Duke Doctoral Students

FLASH/DAZZLE/GLEAM: A Short Form Writing Workshop. Conducted at Duke University for the undergraduate student writing group, The Writers’ Collective.

Politics and Erasure: A Poetry of Resistance. Workshop conducted at Duke University for the undergraduate student writing group, The Writers’ Collective.

Undergraduate courses: Introduction to Creative Writing, Introduction to Writing Poetry, The Devil in English Literature