Grad Writing Workshop: Poetry

ENG 613B (001) Decolonial Love Graduate Poetry Workshop (CW, CSAP)

January 13 – May 15 2020 / M 6:00 – 8:30 / KUY 407


Instructor: Noʻu Revilla

Office: KUY 719




“do not compare us to the rain

unless you fucking mean it.”

— Billy-Ray Belcourt



In her essay “Writing in Captivity: Poetry in a Time of Decolonization,” ʻŌiwi poet Haunani-Kay Trask presents her work as both decolonization and recreation. Her writing, she explains, “is a furious, but nurturing, aloha for Hawaiʻi.” Indeed Aloha ʻĀina is a foundational and ongoing cultural practice, one of the many ways decolonial love manifests today. In this graduate workshop, we will engage the art of poetry at an advanced level, emphasizing craft, performance, and publication. Through workshop and rigorous approaches to reading and writing, students will compose poetry projects that interrogate, reflect on, and illuminate what it means to make decolonial love in the 21st century. What are we making? What are we making possible? As a community of writers and readers, we will show up for each other. So in addition to helping you cultivate a consistent and sustained writing practice, the workshop element will also fine-tune your practices of accountability and support your exploration of form and collaboration.

Situated as we are in Hawaiʻi nei, we will begin in Kanaka Maoli engagements with decolonial love. Subsequently, we will move throughout Oceania, the continental United States, and beyond, writing poetry in conversation with the poets and works we read. Craft will be central. What poetic forms and techniques are being used and to what effects? If poetry is the struggle for precision, what are these poets and their works driving us closer to feel, think, and practice? What relationships between form and content are these poets establishing? How is poetry connected to and generative of decolonial love? Students will be responsible for producing original work every week.



To produce a substantial body of poetry that explores decolonial love.

To develop and defend student’s own poetics of decolonial love.

To advance student’s practice of critically reading, writing, and discussing poetry as part of a literary community.

To apply interpretive and formative workshop strategies to the poetry of others.

To develop advanced practices of documentary poetry research.

To reflect on and articulate student’s own crafting of erotics and poetics in the writing process.



Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Iep Jāltok

Franny Choi, Soft Science

Billy-Ray Belcourt, This Wound is a World

Editors Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti, Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature

Other texts to purchase may be added. All other materials will be available as PDFs or hyperlinks on Laulima.



Submissions to small and large group workshops

Weekly writing assignments

Group Recitation

Individual Recitation

Interview Project

Two student-teacher conferences

ʻAʻole i pau Review (MIDTERM): Poetic projects on decolonial love are many and certainly exceed the scope of a single academic semester. To increase the visibility of and working knowledge about these projects, you will write a review of a poetic text that explores decolonial love. While you may choose to review a text that we have discussed in class, I encourage you to use this assignment as an opportunity to add to our humble archive of voices. Reviews should be 800-1,200 words in length.

Final Portfolio: Statement of poetics (5-8 pages, double-spaced); 10-15 poems; process document in which you reflect on prewriting, writing, and revising stages and discuss a poet(s) whose work influenced the poem and/or a poet whose work your poem potentially invokes (2-3 pages, double-spaced). This work must be original to this course.