Call Your Ghost: Writing Haunted Poems
A poem's a series of choices. But whose choices? Many contemporary poets write within a poetics of haunting/hauntedness, a poetics of divination. In A Sand Book, Ariana Reines transcribes the words of the sun. CAConrad writes poems that are summoned through “somatic rituals,” designed to tune bodies to different modes of receptivity to language. Dorothea Lasky writes of ghosts and how they, like poems, hint at the “materiality of a shared imagination.”
There is a long and rich tradition of poets insisting that their words come, not from them, not from inside, but from somewhere else. Jack Spicer said that writing poems, for him, was like trying to eavesdrop on the voices of Martians, using a radio. James Merrill took dictation from Ouija boards. Yeats held seances with ghosts who came (they said) to “give him metaphors for his poetry.” Blake was haunted, all his life, by Milton's ghost.
Call it the subconscious, or the collective unconscious. Call it muse, call it “flow.” Call it your Virgil, your ghost, your Socratic demon. They all serve as metaphors for a state in which you bypass your ego—the cramped confines of your everyday self, your inner critic, your impostor—in order to access the full and untrammeled spectrum of your abilities; to draw on the work done by your predecessors. In this workshop, we will experiment with a variety of tactics/techniques (ranging from Dada to ChatGPT), coupled with writing prompts that are intended to help you tune your radio to the Martians; let your Eolian harp breathe; to summon your ghosts.
Poets of all levels welcome.
This class will take place in-person at our Center for Creative Writing in Boston's Seaport neighborhood.
GrubStreet's space will be mask optional when Boston's Covid-19 Community Level is low or medium. When the Covid-19 Community Level is high, our space will require masks. Please check GrubStreet's Covid-19 page for the latest info on masking and Community Levels before visiting in-person.
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Previous Students Say
- "Supportive Environment"
- "Inspired Me to Write More"
- In-Class Writing Prompts
- In-Class Writing
- In-Class Reading
- Class Discussion