Poetry Workshop (CW)

This workshop will consist of both reading and writing, with a focus on the long poem. In each class we will discuss the week’s reading, as well as talking about your work, considering such questions as: what is as stake in the writing? How does the poet try to get his/her ideas/feelings across to the reader? We will also do in-class exercises, often drawn from Bernadette Mayer’s experiments (http://writing.upenn.edu/library/Mayer-Bernadette_Experiments.html), and Charles Bernstein’s experiments (http://writing.upenn.edu/bernstein/experiments.html). Our workshop time will be spent asking questions of each other that might lead to richer, more layered poems, as well as attending to questions of craft. Whatever your particular style of writing and revision, I will encourage you to discover what you are doing, and how you might do it more effectively.

Texts (available from Revolution Books)

Thomas and Beulah, Rita Dove

Howl, Allen Ginsberg

The Tao, Michael Hartnett

Sleeping with the Dictionary, Harryette Mullen

An Atlas of the Difficult World, Adrienne Rich

Dementia Blog, Susan M. Schultz

Omeros, Derek Walcott

One with Others, C.D. Wright

CourseReader (Available from EMA Copier, UHM) to include poetry from Three Poems, John Ashberry; Bloodclot,Tusiata Avia; Saina, Craig Santos Perez; She Tries Her Tongue, Nourbese Philip; Testimony, Charles Reznikoff; Vela, Albert Wendt.


Electronic Poetry Center (SUNY-Buffalo),
how2 (a woman’s poetry site), Jacket (on-line journal out of
Australia), Ubu web, Poetry Foundation, Poets.org, and many more. A lot of
sites have sound files, so that you can listen to the poets read their poems.

Journals in Hawai`i: Bamboo
, Hawaii Review, Tinfish, Hybolics, Manoa,and
others. You should be familiar with them, what they publish, how they’re trying
to create and shape communities of readers, and so on.

Class organization

I will set up a blog where we can write weekly reactions to the readings, and/or to other relevant subjects.

I will ask that one or two of you introduce the readings each week, both assigned book readings and poems by your colleagues in class. Give your work to the class at least one week before we discuss it.


  • Participation on the blog and active participation in class discussions of readings and your poems;
  • At least two conferences with me in my office;
  • A 5-8 page statement of your poetics, due in mid-semester;
  • A chapbook of your poems, due at the end of the semester, including an introduction to your work. This must be work you’ve written and re-written during the semester.

To pass the course, all work must be completed.