(Online) Writing Winter Poems Inspired by Mary Oliver

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How can a poet find inspiration and joy in a season of snow days, treacherous roads, grey skies over muddy paths, or, worse, icy sidewalks? When we’re forced indoors, we have to go deeper inside, where the ‘invincible summer’ can be found. In this interactive online class, we’ll use Mary Oliver’s work for thematic inspiration, instruction, and as a starting point to launch our own poems. Each week, we’ll consider a brief reading by Mary Oliver (a single poem, essay, or prose poem) placed in conversation with equally brief works from writers including Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Wendell Barry, Jane Hirschfield, Lisa Russ Spaar, Meg Day, Pablo Neruda, Jamaal May, Joy Harjo, and Robert Macfarlane. From these readings, we’ll write new poems from a prompt linked to that week’s topic. Every week will also include optional viewing/listening assignments, all inspired by Mary Oliver’s dictum of “Pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it.” You’ll be encouraged to post your fresh drafts if you like for light criticism and positive peer feedback in the weekly forums. We’ll write poems raising our voices from the tops of the trees, singing of our journey back towards the green times.

About Sarah Ann Winn

Sarah Ann Winn’s Alma Almanac (Barrow Street, 2017), won the Barrow Street Book Prize. She’s the author of five chapbooks, most recently, Ever After the End Matter (Porkbelly, 2019). Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Massachusetts Review, and Tupelo Quarterly, among others.

Teaching Style: Sarah's workshops are creativity labs which use readings to represent a variety of voices from our wonderfully diverse community of writers. She also frequently provides resources from other creative fields and items not normally considered "writerly" to inspire new work and new ways of thinking about the creative process. Feedback in Sarah's workshops focuses on the positive and the particular of what's working, especially in courses generating fresh drafts.

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