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Sometimes we want poems to make stark, powerful statements about being alive, to shine with hard-earned wisdom. But profound truth is a slippery thing, and if you go straight for the ineffable, your language may fall flat. In this workshop, we’ll look at poems that start from the everyday, the banal, the frustrated, and move toward a moment of clarity. By studying poets including Marie Howe, Carl Phillips, and Denis Johnson, we’ll develop tools for guiding the poem to an epiphany that feels pure and earned for the reader as well as the writer.
Jay Deshpande is the author of Love the Stranger, named a top debut of 2015 by Poets & Writers, and of the chapbook The Rest of the Body (both from YesYes Books). His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Narrative, and elsewhere. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts, he has received fellowships or support from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri, Saltonstall Arts Colony, and the Key West Literary Seminar. Currently, he is a 2018-2020 Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. He is at work on a collection of poems and on a book of translations of Egyptian surrealist Georges Henein.