How to Read a Poem: A Writing Workshop by P. Scott Cunningham

August 28 and 30, 2012. 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Writers don’t talk enough about reading. Most of the people who are serious about writing can recite writing advice by heart: “show, don’t tell”; “kill your darlings”; “revise, revise, revise”; etc. But they don’t talk nearly enough about serious strategies for reading. And who are they as writers, if they are not readers first? And what happens to their writing if they are bad readers?

By reading, we’re referring primarily to written texts (other poems), but also to images and experiences. In a sense every poem is a close “reading” of some kind of object that has lodged itself in the brain, or, more successfully, two disparate things that the poet combines either successfully or unsuccessfully. In this “class” attendees will practice reading poems, images, memories, texts, and experiences, as well as “reading” the poems of one another’s. In each poem, they will be asked what is being read? And how?

A typical session will involve a demonstration through the reading of a classic or important contemporary poem, followed by an exercise based upon that poem. Some exercises will be simple; others will be more elaborate, and at least one will involve leaving the classroom on a “poetic fieldtrip” of sorts. Each exercise will generate a writing assignment due by the next class. At the end of each day each day by “reading” one another’s responses to the assignment from the previous class.

P. Scott Cunningham is the author of Chapbook of Poems for Morton Feldman (Floating Wolf Quarterly, 2011) and the director of the O, Miami Poetry Festival. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Harvard Review, Court Green, Sou’wester, Pool, Pank, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Abe’s Penny, and elsewhere. In 2008, he founded the University of Wynwood, a faux-institution for contemporary literature that produces Jai-Alai Magazine, a “disappearing” literary journal, and the University of Wynwood Visiting Poets Series, among other events and projects. In 2011, Cunningham was named a “Brilliant Urbanite” by Fast Company Magazine and has been a writer-in-residence at the McColl Center for the Visual Arts and the Key West Literary Seminars. He has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. He lives in Miami.

Recommended Reading:
– Spring and All by William Carlos Williams 
– ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound

CLICK HERE to register.

Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305.442.4408
www.booksandbooks.com

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