From Apophenia to Form — Master Class with Alison C. Rollins

Apophenia is, “the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things”. In this poetry craft workshop, we will utilize this psychological phenomenon to explore its impact on the poet’s approach to crafting image. Through a variety of exercises complemented with examples, we will sharpen your ability to engage in “re-vision” and to generate imaginative associations. Themes that we will discuss include repetition, obsession, personification, and anaphora. In addition, we will briefly highlight the following forms: the cento, pecha kucha, ekphrasis, and diagram/visual poetry. Overall, this workshop will privilege the use of the surreal as a medium for giving voice to the unutterable, a window to grapple with trauma.

Alison C. Rollins

Alison C. Rollins holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Born and raised in St. Louis city, she currently works as a Librarian for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

A Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow, she is also a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Rollins has most recently been awarded support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and is a recipient of a 2018 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award.

Her debut poetry collection, Library of Small Catastrophes, is forthcoming with Copper Canyon Press in Spring 2019. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry, The Poetry Review, and elsewhere.