Simple Text(S): Poetry In And Around Prose – Sharon Mesmer

Sharon Mesmer will be teaching a ten-week long Tuesday evening workshop, beginning February 9, 2010. The class will meet in the Parish Hall from 7-9 pm.

You’ve heard it before: why is it that poets can write prose, but prose writers can’t write poetry? Maybe it’s because prose writers haven’t fully explored the places where poetry and prose effectively come together — the textural artus points that hinge and pivot to access the strengths of both forms.  In this workshop (open, of course, to poets who want to bring narrative intentionality to their work without sacrificing imagery), we will look at prose that blends narrative with idiosyncratic language (Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star; Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept), prose that includes poetry (Ki no Tsurayuki’s The Tosa Diary), prose vignettes (16th and 17th century Chinese “hsiao-p’in”; Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet), prose-poem essays (Nelson Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make) dream stories (Kafka’s The Bucket Rider), flarf fiction and cut-ups.  The above texts and many others will serve as examples for beginning, extending and finishing hybrid poem-stories.

Sharon Mesmer has published several books of poetry and short fiction and teaches both forms at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the New School.  She is a two-time NYFA fellow in poetry, and a member of the flarf collective.