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Online Poetry Workshop with Derek Sheffield

January 6, 2023 - February 10, 2023


The course: The Weave of Your Life in World and Poem
We humans have been writing about the natural world since we first started scratching images into rock and, by now, there are many worn-out conventions that make it a more challenging pursuit, comparable perhaps to beginning a series of love sonnets in perfect iambic pentameter. And yet. . .what is more urgent? What more interesting, necessary, or exciting? What is more suffused with brilliance than touching and exploring with language the weave of our life in the living systems that make our planet? In this workshop, we will examine ways in poems to write with surprise, complexity, and vitality about the more-than-human world. Topics will include nature and science, nature and family, the narrative and the lyric, telling the truth slantwise, word music, close reading, and strategies for revision. Students will need existing work to bring to the workshop. There will also be some generative exercises. The workshop will include visits from two guest poets.

The instructor: Derek Sheffield’s collection, Not for Luck, was selected by Mark Doty for the Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize. His other books include Through the Second Skin, a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and A Revised Account of the West. He is a coeditor of two collections, Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy and Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Poetry, High Country News, The Georgia Review, Orion, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Poetry Northwest, AGNI, and elsewhere. He has been awarded fellowships from the Spring Creek Project, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Artist Trust, Allied Arts, and the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Other honors include the James Hearst Poetry Prize judged by Li-Young Lee and a Special Mention in the 2016 Pushcart Anthology. He lives with his family in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains near Leavenworth, Washington, where he birds, fishes, hikes, gardens, forest bathes, and parents. As a professor of English at Wenatchee Valley College, he teaches poetry and ecological writing and serves as co-chair of the Sustainability Committee. He is the poetry editor of Terrain.org, the oldest online magazine in the world devoted to place-based writing and art. 

Duration: This class meets over six consecutive Fridays from 1-4 pm ET.

Application period: Applications closed.

Click here for more details about Orion Online Writers’ Workshops.


January 6, 2023
February 10, 2023
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