In this three day spring intensive, open to students with all levels of poetry experience, students will draft six poems and be workshopped three times. The poems submitted can be either responses to the writing prompts or previously written poems that are under 20 lines. All workshops will be “cold,” meaning everyone will hear and read the poems up for workshop for the first time in the class meetings. We will focus on generative writing prompts for part of the class and also will workshop take-home writing prompts.
In her poem, "Spring Already," Meena Alexander describes the season of rebirth as having the "frank scent of survival." In other words, spring signals not only newness, but the ways in which we have been made "anew" by what we have lived through.
In our ongoing crisis, what can we make of this parallel hope and despair? How can a poetic line, much like spring's rich and colorful blooms, give us a sense of intelligibility after a destabilizing year? How can such an image or encounter mark time when time itself has become recurrent?
For this reason, our prompts will be organized around the tenets of temporality and flow: pace, delivery, voltas, syllabic accentuation, pause, enjambment, etc.
100% of the tuition from this course will be donated to Mission Oxygen and Parivar: Covid Relief for Indian Queer and Trans Lives.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Strengthen your close reading skills and learn how to critique creative work using formal analysis
- Become comfortable with workshop dynamics and group critique
- Generate new writing based on in class exercises and weekly assignments
- Reflect on what your own creative process is and how to develop it further
Students will receive six prompts (three in class through generative writing time) and three take-home prompts. They will workshop three poems total. Students will also be asked to read between 3-5 poems a night.
Megan Fernandes has been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Ploughshares, Chicago Review, Boston Review, Rattle, Pank, The Common, the Academy of American Poets, among others. Her second book of poetry, Good Boys, was a finalist for the Kundiman Book Prize, the Saturnalia Book Prize, and was published with Tin House Books in February 2020. Fernandes is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College. She holds a PhD in English from the UC Santa Barbara and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She lives in New York City.
“One of the best professors I’ve ever had. She is incredibly smart and also very honest when it comes to our work. I never felt uncomfortable sharing my poetry with her no matter how personal.”
“This class was more than about poetry, it was about life and learning and the lived experience of others.”
“She challenges you, makes you step outside your comfort zone. And god, she knows her stuff. Get rid of any stereotype you had before about poetry.”
“The poetry of Megan Fernandes gives me courage to get up another day and fight the patriarchy & racist nationalism. Her limitless imagination and beautiful, lyrical, powerful lines are worth fighting for. Everyone should give this book to someone they love, and everyone should love someone enough to give them this book.”
“What I learned from you is how/not to be a body,’ Megan Fernandes asserts in her evocatively beautiful collection GOOD BOYS, musing in a later poem, ‘How some of us laugh while hunted.’ These are poems of haunting and hunting, of bodies that are remade in different cities, of family and its legacy, of immigration and what it takes from us. The collection traverses time and place, meditating on the ways love shatters and recreates us all, particularly when it intersects with being othered. Fernandes writes compellingly of the dislocation that comes with migration: ‘My daddy is not a thing like your daddy,’ she says. ‘Our house was not a thing like your house.’ Alike or not, this house of poems contains tremendous light.’”
“If there is no ethical consumption under late capitalism, our job is to figure out how to move through this world while causing it the least harm. ‘I like when the choices are both ugly,’ Megan Fernandes writes in GOOD BOYS, and then she shows us: rocks and hard places, guns and snowbanks, there and here. It’s a staggering text—ferocious, vulnerable, funny, ambitious, and deeply rigorous. What can a poet do for people, for a planet, literally dying of human greed? Fernandes answers: ‘I map / the storms // of the whole world.’”
“Magnificent in its tumultuous yet savvy voicings, its pain transformed into cadence, its personal yet generous stagings of self.”
“This tremendous collection of poems centers feminism, racism, and rage in all its imperfections, contradictions and candor.”
“Fernandes’s debut collection, THE KINGDOM AND AFTER (Tightrope Books, 2015), introduced us to her voice as both blunt truth-teller and measured verse-architect. In GOOD BOYS, her new collection published last month from Tin House Books, she plunges back into family, relationships, and identity—then explores the lens itself through which she sees and thinks about her world. Her anger and agitation speak so clearly, so compellingly, that we find ourselves reading her poems on the edge of unease: What will happen next? Is this going to hurt? Will she soothe us? And she does, with great care and love.”
“GOOD BOYS speaks to our shared knowledge that things cannot go on as they are and yet, day by day, we are going on. Fernandes explores what it feels like to live a life organized by risk, the ordinary wagers and debts we make in our attachments to the people, places, and ideas that we love, our promises to ourselves and others: “The way we bet. What we gamble with.” Being good is one way of managing risk. But it also allows us to ignore the ways in which our world is built on theft — the piracies of whiteness, a sense of entitlement to someone else’s body or someone else’s country… The poems demonstrate an intelligent handling of form, disrupting convenient distinctions between the neatness of intellect and the chaos of feeling.”
“If BROAD CITY and Carmen Maria Machado had a poetry baby, it would be GOOD BOYS.”