GREENSBORO—Lines are the building blocks of poetry. From the basis of lines, all poems, no matter the formal style, come into being.

Whether we're writing prose poems about the worst job we ever had or deep diving into collections by our favorite poets, it's impossible to talk about any of it without talking about lines.

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 21, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

Registration is now open.

Emilia Phillips will lead the Master Class in Poetry, "Walk the Line: Syntax and the Poetic Line."

Emilia Phillips is the author of two poetry collections from the University of Akron Press, Signaletics (2013) and Groundspeed (2016), and three chapbooks, most recently Beneath the Ice Fish Like Souls Look Alike (Bull City Press, 2015). Her poems and lyric essays appear widely in literary publications including AGNI, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. She’s an assistant professor in the MFA Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her third book, Empty Clip, will be published by the University of Akron Press in Spring, 2018.

In her workshop, registrants will consider the relationship between poetry's vehicles of meaning: the line and the sentence. In doing so, attendees will investigate the ways in which these structures support, nuance, and deny one another to achieve resonance, depth, and subtext within a poem. This course will be generative, with exercises that rely on close reading and formal manipulation of texts, as well as the drafting of new pieces. Whether you want to learn more about what your favorite poets are doing with their poems or discover how to break lines in your own, this course will insist that poetry is a craft, honed by exercises and study.

For full details on applying to the Master Class in Poetry, click here.

Beginning poets, or those who want to sample a broader selection of classes, may register for additional offerings.

Charmaine Cadeau, author of two poetry collections and an Associate Professor of English at High Point University, will lead the session "Prose Poems."

Prose poetry suggests disorder from its very name, being a little of this, and a little of that. Its fluidity, folding in drama, nonfiction, fiction, and other poetries, insists on writers and readers engaged in thinking about how we read, what we read, and how it all connects. Beyond being just poems without line breaks, or narratives written by poets, prose poetry folds in conventions from other genres to push at the limits of form. In this workshop, we will look at a few models and generate some new writing.

"What Work Is: Poetry from our Working Lives" with Valerie Neiman, whose second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy (2015), had work nominated for the Pushcart Prize and cited in Best Small Fictions 2016, will discuss how work provides “our daily bread,” but also shapes the daily substance of our lives, whether that work takes place in the home, in the mall shop or mill, on the farm or behind a desk in a corporate tower. It is the framework for the story of our communities and ourselves. In this workshop, suitable for all writers, attendees will look at ways to tap into the history and culture of work to create new writing. Poetry about work will get folks started, followed by a writing exercise to help stimulate memory and imagination. Participants are asked to bring photographs of a family member at work, as well as a tool or some other memento of the workplace. Handouts will provide further inspiration and resources to help writers.

Additional conference programming includes "Lunch with an Author" (only available to those who pre-register); faculty readings and open mics; and the fourth annual Slush Pile Live! where poetry and prose will be read aloud in two rooms in front of panels of editors and publishers, who will raise their hands as soon as they hear something in the pieces that would make them stop reading if they came across the submission in a slush pile.

Register now.

 The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit


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