Creative Writing Workshops

Our monthly creative writing workshops invite participants to explore their own creative voices and various possibilities for creative writing activities across all grade levels.

 
 
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Bodies and Curse Words and Spring

This workshop looked at bodies and curse words and spring through the queer, contemporary poetry of Eileen Myles and Morgan Parker Today we specifically want to focus on how, if, and when to use language of bodies, curse words, and the most anticipated season of spring in creating texts.

 

Taking Up Subjects and Remixing IMages

This workshop looked at taking up subjects and engaging with images through poems from Stevie Howell’s recent collection I left inside on purpose and engaging with images and considering ekphrasis poetry. We also remixed in the “Business” section of today’s local newspaper to interrupt and enliven the language in the poems. We specifically wanted to focus on how to use images and language foreign to the English class as fodder for poems.

 
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Queer Poetics

Guided by local Torontonian poet Fan Wu, this workshop explored queer poetics and exposed participants to different ways of reading and writing poetry as a community. Fan gave a very brief overview of three strands of queer poetics. He then took up the two chapbooks from his What Queer Reading series (https://whatqueerreading.com) as material for the workshop.

 

Mis/Translations & Homophonic Translations

This workshop looked at Mis/translations and Homophonic translations of poems inspired by poems written in languages unfamiliar (or in Carson’s case familiar but Ancient) to the translator. Translation itself is seen as an art form where a writer attempts to capture not just the language but also the sentiments of the original text. It is entirely subjective. Translation typically involves sitting entirely with the content of the original and reproducing it in (our case) English. Today, however, we are going to sit with the letters and sounds of the original and translate those sounds into English language.

 

Poems of Immediacy/Poems of the Moment

This workshop looked at poems of immediacy / poems of the moment through the online poetry publication Rattle, which uses current news-worthy events to generate poems, and Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems, which are poems inspired by his midday quotidian musings in midtown Manhattan.

 

Occasional/Collaborative Poetry

This workshop looked at Occasional poems via the poem “Seventy-Seven Beautiful and Adorable Things for Arthur Okamura’s 77th Birthday” by Joanne Kyger as well as elegiac occasional poems and Rengas via Renga for Obama to introduce collaborative writing. The purpose of this workshop was to expose participants to different ways of reading and writing poetry as a community.

 

Contemporary Poets for the Contemporary Moment

This workshop began with reading poems by two contemporary poets whose writing is charged with the present moment - a moment when bodies and lives are particularly political. Participants then took turns reading the poems by both poets (Billy-Ray Belcourt and Terrance Hayes). Participants were invited to discuss what they noticed in the poems they read and wrote, and encouraged to bring these poets into their classes for students to engage with.