University of Iowa

Burning Down the House (Or How to Write a Better Political Poem)

Weeklong July 22 to July 27 2018

Like virtually everything else in our era, poetry has gotten sharply political these days. Writers are responding to this turbulent moment in the country’s history with a tsunami of poems that address issues like immigration, global warming, institutionalized racism, and health care. In this generative poetry workshop, we will read from a wide variety of protest and political poems and write as if our pens were on fire. We’ll talk about how to choose your subject for a political poem and discover which techniques and considerations can lead to meaningful connection with the reader. We will also focus on honing important aspects of craft, employing white space, caesuras, and elements of elliptical poetry to strengthen our work.