Workshop Focus

For this workshop we’ll be trying out counterintuitive means of writing poetry. You’ll be encouraged to do what amounts to doing something, somewhere along the line, someone (including yourself), it doesn’t matter who, has indicated to you you shouldn’t be doing. Let’s say you’ll be trying to over-use an egocentric, narcissistic narrator—let them talk. Another time you’ll want to be as bombastic as possible. Another time you will want to make absolutely no sense at all. None. You get the drift. Clichés, sentimentality, stereotypes, heavy-handedness, boring logic, spastic rhythm, unbalanced development, inappropriate nomenclature, over-writing, under-writing, deadpan rhyme, awkward syntax, ridiculous sentences, irrationally unproductive combinations, predictable scenarios, boundlessly trite didacticism, impenetrable dogma, superficial psychological pretensions, unapologetically unnecessary mendacities, relentless repetitions, dogged shallowness, unrepentant, irredeemable plagiarism, precious pretentiousness, predictability—all these things are for you to explore with abandon. We will see what results and we’ll have a good time talking about why and how and when these things are sometimes the very things writing needs and you can employ.


This workshop is open to poets at all levels of abilities with no entrance requirements. Dara invites anyone to use their imaginations with courage, with energetic recklessness, and with exquisitely necessary sincerity, with no self-censoring and no pre-established inhibitions, to find the poet’s true voice and style.

About Dara Wier

Dara Wier’s newest book, out in April 2013, from Wave Books, is You Good Thing, a sequence of sonnets meditatively regarding, grief, loss, and love. Among her other books from Wave are Reverse Rapture and Voyages in English. She teaches poetry workshops and seminars for the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA program for poets and writers. She’s a member of the arts space Flying Object, an editor for Factory Hollow Press, and co-founder and co-director of the Juniper Initiative and Summer Writing Institute of U.M. Amherst. Awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The American Poetry Review, The San Francisco Poetry Center, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have supported her work.
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