Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing & African American Literary Arts
He is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), a recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, The Frost Place, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Previously, he taught creative writing at Seton Hall, Drew University, and St. Joseph's College, as well as poetry workshops for the Cave Canem Foundation. His poems and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New York Times Magazine, upstreet, American Poets, The Rumpus, and Hunger Mountain, among others. He currently lives in Brooklyn.
As the book description posits, "The BreakBeat Poets are a break with the past and an honoring of the tradition(s), an undeniable body expanding the canon for the fresher." Poetry has a rich oral and aural tradition and Hip-Hop plays an important role in much of Poetry's current forms, rhythms, and presentation. Students will read several of the 78 featured poets in the anthology and think through the various intersections between tradition and innovation. Students will also conduct additional research and present on one of the BreakBeat poets and the ars poetica form. Readings may include the work of Eve Ewing, Marcus Wicker, John Murillo, Ocean Vuong, Nate Marshall, Evie Shockley, Patrick Rosal, and Douglas Kearney, among others.
Psychologist Annie P. Rogers asserts, "Every sentence we speak is continually surrounded by what is not said and may in fact be unsayable... However, to hear the unsayable I had to consider words as revealing both a conscious narrative about experience and an unconscious one," and while mental health and wellness have become a more openly discussed subject, the experience remains almost unsayable. So, how does the poet grant a reader access to such complicated experience, the speaker's interior landscape? How is it communicated-recreated-within the reader? In this workshop, students will study poems on the subject of mental health and illness as well as deepen their understanding of the role image plays in the effect of those poems. Readings may include the work of Anne Carson, Elizabeth Bishop, Galway Kinnell, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Sylvia Plath, Jane Kenyon, and Richard Siken, among others. Prerequisite: At least one prior creative writing workshop.
Robert Hass writes, "All the new thinking is about loss. / In this it resembles all the old thinking." And while the poets we will consider certainly consider loss in their thinking, they also expand that thinking to include such contemporary subjects as identity, home, sexuality, disease, justice, and police brutality. In this course, we will close read and respond to debut or second collections by several emerging poets. Students will annotate individual poems and develop interview questions for each collection. Readings may include work by Tommye Blount, Nicole Sealey, Aaron Coleman, Safia Elhillo, Danez Smith, Ladan Osman, Cortney Lamar Charleston, and Tarfia Faizullah among others.
In this workshop, we will focus our attention on the function of tone in a poem as a way of communicating and deepening its emotive charge. We will examine a few of the numerous craft elements that contribute to a poem's tonal register, such as sound, detail, image, syntax, form, music, and how these tools might signal tonal shifts within a poem or complicate a poem's emotional depth. We will also consider how elements of tone create tension and counterbalance within poems. And we will draft and revise poems that engage in some serious play and think about how even playfulness or seriousness are carefully crafted things. Readings may include work by Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Jericho Brown, Carl Phillips, Roger Reeves, Thom Gunn, and Ellen Bryant Voigt, among others. Prerequisite: At least one college-level poetry workshop.