Poetry as Painting
Great Barrington, MA
Learn to see the strange in the ordinary.
Tuesdays, 7-9 PM, June 5, 12, 19
+ group trip to MASS MoCA
My mother believed and I believe in really looking hard at things because, after a while, what you see isn’t at all what you thought you were seeing just a short time before. Looking at any person or object carefully means that it will become increasingly strange, and you will see more and more.
Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World
Poetry is a singular interpretation of experience. As poets, we recalibrate the act of seeing itself so that our seeing, and therefore our writing, is as singular an interpretation as the work of a painter looking out of the window at a landscape.
The Poetry as Painting workshop emerged from my work coaching poets and teaching in the galleries at MASS MoCA, where I encourage conversation about what viewers see and how artists reinterpret and transform people, objects and texts.
In its articulation of a singular writer’s voice and vision, poetry reinvents experience in a way that is analogous to painting, but it uses the tools of language. Poetry need not be documentary; nor need it be autobiography. Even the work of so-called “confessional” poets (a term I discourage) may transform experience into something out of the real. In fact, careful looking and revision can lift work out of autobiography so that what remains are highly crafted poems that use autobiographical fact as springboards, but what transpires in the work is something entirely different.
How does such transformation happen? How does a poem lift off from its autobiography? How does a poet see or remember an experience so that it achieves something “strange” and new? We’ll investigate and practice how such transformation differs for each poet, just as it does for each painter.
We will meet in workshop on three consecutive Tuesday evenings and during the week of June 11th, travel to MASS MoCA where we’ll consider the work of several artists whose “seeing” will be instructional, perhaps even transformational, for our writing.
Tuesdays, 7-9 PM in Great Barrington, June 5, 12 & 19 + guided tour at MASS MoCA week of June 11th at a mutually convenient time.
Cost $ 300
+ one MASS MoCA discounted admission.