December 15, 2017—December 17, 2017
Experimenting with Voice along the Borders of Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction
There is a limited number of general scholarship funds available.
Join renowned poets Robert Polito and Gregory Pardlo for a transformative weekend of literary and artistic exploration—curated by Rozanne Gold
Composer Meredith Monk once proposed that the “human voice is the original instrument so you’re going back to the very beginning of utterance. In a way, it’s like the memory of being a human being.”
For contemporary writers also, voice similarly partakes of a dynamic conversation with earlier poetry, fiction, and nonfiction (among other creative arts) across history, languages, cultures, and traditions. Yet few notions in writing today prove as lively, elusive, and contested as voice, whether we approach voice as a metaphor for identity and personal style (“discovering” or “finding” your voice), or as the root material and vital agent of writing, or even as a passé psychological contrivance for our current historical moment of multiple and fragmented selves. A voice might incarnate or summon an entire world in a few phrases, but voices also probe, interrogate, and dismantle worlds.
In this seminar we look at some poems, stories, and essays that explore these exciting and contrary approaches to voice, and then write our own new work. Many of our favorite books, music, and films over the last few decades tend to operate along the seams of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Perhaps we might think of these books as dramatizing, even embodying thinking in sentences and lines, at least as Elizabeth Bishop advanced the notion when she wrote that she wanted to write poems that seize the mind “in action” rather than “at rest.” We also listen to vocal music across a diversity of modern idioms and genres, including that of Meredith Monk.
Note: Meredith Monk will be conducting her own seminar at the Garrison Institute and we are invited to attend her Saturday evening workshop/performance.
Gregory Pardlo‘s collection Digest won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is also the author of Air Traffic, a memoir in essays forthcoming from Knopf.
Robert Polito is a poet, essayist, editor, and biographer. His most recent books are the poetry collection Hollywood & God and Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber. Hollywood & God was chosen by Barnes and Noble as one of the top five poetry books of 2010. Polito received a National Book Critics Circle Award for Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson. He is also the author of the poetry collection Doubles, as well as A Reader’s Guide to James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover, and a study of Byron’s poetry. His poems and reviews, criticism, and essays on literature, film, and popular music have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, Artforum, Harpers, The Believer, Bookforum, The Poetry Foundation website, Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, and Best American Film Writing. The founding director of the Graduate Writing Program and the Riggio Honors Program: Writing & Democracy at the New School, he served as President of the Poetry Foundation in Chicago (2013-2015), before returning to New York and the New School. He is working on a new collection of poems, as well as on a pair of nonfiction books—on noir; and Bob Dylan.
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