Controversies In Poetry: Legislating The Word And The World — Workshop with Lisa Jarnot

Are poets unacknowledged legislators? Does poetry make nothing happen? Should poets be picking roses or agitating on the front line? These are the questions we grapple with as we dip into the long history of poetical warfare (Catullus’s invectives, Ezra Pound’s World War II radio speeches, Ed Sanders and the Investigative Poetry Group’s The Party: A Chronological Perspective on a Confrontation at a Buddhist Seminary, Jennifer Dunbar Dorn’s “Rolling Stock: A Chronicle of the 80s”, Kevin Killian’s “Activism, Gay Poetry, AIDS in the 1980s”, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Vanessa Place’s “Miss Scarlett,” CA Conrad’s “From Whitman to Walmart,” Kenneth Goldsmith’s performance of Michael Brown’s body, Cathy Park Hong’s “There’s a New Movement in American Poetry…” and more). We will observe, analyze, and see what it’s all about. We will also write poems, invectives, rants, and well-reasoned arguments inspired by our readings and discussions.

This workshop is now full. To be added to the waitlist, email Laura at

Lisa Jarnot

Lisa Jarnot is a gardener, homeschooling mom, and author of several books of poetry and a biography of Robert Duncan. She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, with her husband and daughter.