- $60 Adults
- $40 College Students
I and You, Me and Him, I and She: Writing Poems from Non-Traditional Relationships
For about 900 years, listeners or readers of poetry could safely assume that if an “I” spoke to a “you” in a love poem, the speaker was male, and he addressed a female beloved. Poets have often used the genderless character of “you” and “I” to create a safe space, and even our first more-or-less openly same-sex-loving poet, Walt Whitman, changed pronouns in his published work — at least some of the time. To write from a relationship outside the old parameters (even non-sexual ones, like friendship between women, or being close to an ex) raises lots of interesting questions. How do we describe ourselves and our beloveds? Can readers see a poem with a nontraditional couple as a love poem, or does it become a poem “about” being lesbian, or gay, bisexual or questioning, polyamorous, cross-generational trans or whatever self-description you might embrace? Can a poem be “queer” AND “universal”? In this exploratory workshop, we’ll read some poems which avoid, approach or tackle this question in a number of ways, talk about them, and do some writing aimed at investigating the territory.
Mark Doty will be reading at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival on August 6. For details, see Mark Doty and Eileen Myles in our Calendar.
Mark Doty is the author of nine books of poetry, including Deep Lane, Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which won the 2008 National Book Award, and My Alexandria, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize in the UK. He is also the author of three memoirs: the New York Times-bestselling Dog Years, Firebird, and Heaven’s Coast, as well as a book about craft and criticism, The Art of Description: World Into Word. Doty has received two NEA fellowships, Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, a Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Award and the Witter Byner Prize.