Grace in 14 Lines: The Sonnet
A Poetry Writing Workshop (3 sessions)
Instructor: Andrés Rodríguez
Cost: $180/ members; $225 nonmembers
Poets have been writing sonnets since the 13th century AD. In doing so, they have created some of the world’s greatest poetry—“great” being defined in terms of technical virtuosity, moral authority, and epistemological profundity. However, there has been a tendency to think of the sonnet as separate from everyday reality, a product of elitist culture. Poetic practice has proven this view false.
In this workshop, we will read a selection of sonnets by poets across time and culture. Our poets cover many topics with the sonnet, from love to war to nature to God. In short, sonnets can be written on any subject. Whenever a poet has had strong feelings, there was often a sonnet flowing out of such passion. The sonnet has endured and flourished for many reasons, including its ability to explore complex, multifaceted subjects. Our readings will explore some of these reasons in works written in or translated into English.
After our readings, we will do some writing exercises involving form and content. We will focus on both craft and process, looking for ways to enhance the intersection of language and culture, emotion and intellect, story and image. Writing our way into the sonnet is both an adventure and a realization of poetry’s timeless nature.
This three-weekend workshop will be limited to 10 participants so that everyone has the opportunity to revise a poem. Each workshop will run 3 hours and consist of readings, discussion, in-class writing, and feedback. The final meeting will consist of a brief wrap-up and a poetry reading by the members of the workshop.
Andrés Rodríguez is the author of Night Song: Poems (Tia Chucha Press), Book of the Heart: The Poetics, Letters, and Life of John Keats (Lindisfarne Press), and Portal of Dreams: Poems (Woodley Press). His poems have appeared in Bilingual Review, The Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Harvard Review, Hubbub, New York Quarterly, Palabra, Valparaiso Review, and other journals. His work is included in the anthologies Currents from the Dancing River (Harcourt Brace), Dream of a Word (Tia Chucha Press), New Chicano/Chicana Writing (University of Arizona Press), Wild Song (University of Georgia Press), and Bards against Hunger (Local Gems Press). In 2007 Rodríguez won the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange Award in Poetry sponsored by Poets & Writers. He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has an MA in Creative Writing (Stanford) and a PhD in Literature (UC Santa Cruz). He lives in Kansas City.