Assistant Professor of Poetry
She is the author/illustrator of the collage-based picture book changing, changing, which was published by George Braziller in 2005. She has also written two books of poems: Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007) and Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011). Before joining Hampshire's faculty, Girmay taught community writing workshops with young people for several years, at which time she worked with the ACTION Project, a teen arts and social justice program in the Bronx. She has also taught at Queens College and is currently on the faculty of Drew University's low residency M.F.A. program.
For the past few years, she has been studying texts and other materials that, through form, language(s), diction, and gesture, perform and think about place and loss of place (or displacement), and what this sometimes has to do with the sea.
How does writing the dream alter language and/or how we expect language to behave? Might the dream be a painting or a gift or a found object? How is metaphor a kind of rebellion? And how might these practices be(come) routes to possibility? In this course, we will explore these questions and the ways that dreams, metaphors, and poem-making (in general) can meaningfully challenge and stretch the conventions of our saying and seeing. Students will participate in writing experiments in and out of class, and will also be expected to: keep a dream and writing journal; contribute poems for class workshop; provide critical, thoughtful feedback in response to the work of their peers; study works by artists such as Helene Cixous ("The School of Dreams"), Lucille Clifton, Elizabeth Alexander, Jean Valentine, Alberto Rios, and Fanny Howe. Over the course of the semester, students will generate and revise new work, while developing a portfolio of original poems and presenting a creative statement on their writing routes and/or practices. Eligible students should be committed to deepening their practice as creative (live!) readers, writers, and community members. Prerequisite: Eligible students will have completed one college-level creative writing workshop.