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Perpetual Metamorphosis: Transforming Trauma into (Healing) Poetry

  • 23 Jan 2023
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (PST)
  • Zoom

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“If I lose my demons, I will lose my angels as well.”—Rainer Maria Rilke

Emily Dickinson’s flood subject is death, as evidenced in her corpus. This workshop is for those of us with flood subjects seeking new ways of approaching our imagery/creative nuclei in order to enliven/enlighten that which floods us. In my drafts I tend to write the same beating heart over and over. Cheryl Strayed calls it the “second heart” and writes about getting down on the floor to pull this second heart from one’s chest onto the page. I think of The Two Fridas, each with a heart, one broken. This workshop is for those of us with a broken second heart that continually needs to be excised onto the page. For those poets, like me, who write the same poem again and again and are looking for ways to transform that trauma (or “mythic wound” as Tony Hoagland calls it) and create new, fresh, exciting work where in the past our flood subjects may have made our work a bit stale. Exercises will help identify our flood subjects or bottom wells of creativity, where we can go inside of ourselves and (re)discover our deep matter, via magical realism, surrealism, and many others. Join me in the perpetual chrysalis.

About Jennifer Givhan 

Jennifer Givhan is a Mexican-American and indigenous poet, novelist, and transformational coach from the Southwestern desert and the recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices. She holds a Master’s degree from California State University Fullerton and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Warren Wilson College. She is the author of five full-length poetry collections, including Rosa’s Einstein (University of Arizona Press), and the novels Trinity Sight and Jubilee (Blackstone Publishing), which were finalists for the Arizona-New Mexico Book Awards. Her newest poetry collection Belly to the Brutal (Wesleyan University Press) and novel River Woman, River Demon (Blackstone Publishing) drop this fall 2022. Both new books draw from Givhan’s practice of brujería. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, POETRY, TriQuarterly, The Boston Review, The Rumpus, Salon, and many others. She’s received the Southwest Book Award, New Ohio Review’s Poetry Prize, Phoebe Journal’s Greg Grummer Poetry Prize, the Pinch Journal Poetry Prize, and Cutthroat’s Joy Harjo Poetry Prize.

Jenn would love to hear from you at jennifergivhan.com and you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for inspiration, writing prompts, and transformational advice.


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