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Each Poem Is an Event Unto Itself at the NCWN 2020 Spring Conference

Stuart Dischell
GREENSBORO—Course offerings for poets at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2020 Spring Conference, Saturday, April 18, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Grerensboro, will examine—and in some cases, tear down entirely—much of what we consider to be the foundational building blocks of good poetry.

From examining structure to exploring imagery; to considering the idea that poems themselves occur as individual events, and not necessarily something we need to decipher; attendees will participate in bettering their own poetry, and that of their peers, under the guidance of award-winning faculty. 

Registration is open.

Stuart Dischell will lead the Master Class in Poetry, “Now Look at What You Have Done.”

This class will consider the conscious and unconscious choices writers face regarding the structures and strategies of their poems. We will look closely at the way poems are made and organized and the manners in which their crafting affects the sense they make. The pace will be fast-moving, the atmosphere lively, critical, helpful, supportive, and sometimes humorous. We will look at one poem by each of the participants and the works of other authors.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

Stuart Dischell is the author of Good Hope Road (Viking), a National Poetry Series Selection, Evenings & Avenues (Penguin), Dig Safe (Penguin), Backwards Days (Penguin), and Children with Enemies (Chicago), the pamphlets Animate Earth and Touch Monkey, and the chapbook Standing on Z (Unicorn). His poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Agni, The New Republic, Slate, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and anthologies including Essential Poems, Hammer and Blaze, Pushcart Prize, and Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the NEA, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he has taught poetry and literature at Boston University, New Mexico State University, the Warren Wilson Low Residency MFA Program, the Sarah Lawrence Summer Seminars, and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. He is a professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Jennie Malboeuf
Other class options for poets include “Crowded House: Imagery in Poetry” with Jennie Malboeuf and “More than Meaning” (poetry) with Timothy O’Keefe.

“Crowded House: Imagery in Poetry” focuses primarily on imagery. Following the lead of Plath, Bishop, and Clifton, we will explore how to ornament and enhance our poems with actual objects. These poets will demonstrate how to get from the unspeakable to the concrete. We will investigate the stuff of nouns, both living (like animals) and inanimate (like furniture). By the end of workshop, students will have filled their stanzas (little rooms) with a heavy hoard of things. The goal is to make our poems have weight; let’s ground these airy creations.

Jennie Malboeuf is the author of God had a body, forthcoming from Indiana University Press in Spring, 2020. Her poems are found in Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, The Harvard Review, VQR, Prairie Schooner, and ZYZZYVA. Born and raised in Kentucky, she teaches at Guilford College in Greensboro and is the recipient of a 2020 NC Arts Council fellowship.

For many people, learning to read poetry is tantamount to becoming a word detective—one is taught to look for signs and clues in order to arrive at the “deep meaning” of the poem. Or, worse yet, they attempt to translate “what the poet was really trying to say.” “More than Meaning” will explore poetic approaches to the doing of a poem—the poem as an event on the page—instead of focusing on the traditional markers of meaning (symbol, metaphor, allusion, etc.). The goal is not to dispense with meaning altogether, but to reposition it as just one of many experiences the poem can present to an attentive reader.

Timothy O’Keefe
Timothy O’Keefe is the author of You Are the Phenomenology, winner of the 2017 Juniper Prize for Poetry, and The Goodbye Town, winner of the 2010 FIELD Poetry Prize. His poems and lyric essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Best American Essays, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, VOLT, and elsewhere. He teaches writing and literature at High Point University.

Additional course offerings include “Public Speaking for Writers” with Cameron Kent and “What a Long Strange Trip: From Manuscript to Finished Book” with Robin Miura and Lynn York of Blair, Publisher.

Additional programming includese faculty readings, an open mic for conference participants, an exhibit hall packed with publishers and literary organizations, and “Lunch with an Author,” where conferencegoers can spend less time waiting in line and more time talking with the author of their choice. Spaces in “Lunch with an Author” are limited and are first-come, first-served. Preregistration and an additional fee are also required for this offering.

Spring Conference is sponsored in part by UNCG’s Creative Writing Program, which will provide coffee for conference-goers during registration and check-in. Other sponsors include Written Word Media and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Learn more and register at