In this workshop, we recognize the importance of learning poetic form and tradition so we can unlearn it in practice. The class is open to those who have newly developed an interest in poetry and to those who have multiple years of experience in writing poetry. Everyone with an interest in decolonization of the cannon will either be able to create a new work or can continue to foster their existing project. We will reflect on the obsessions of the non-white poets and their literary traditions, along with examining the forms they play in.
Our readings will span poets from the West as well as those from the Global South including Agha Shahid Ali, Patricia Smith, Adrienne Rich, R.K. Narayan, Eunice DeSouza, Angel Nafis, Yusef Komunyakaa, Aimee Nezkhukumatathil, and many others. We will occasionally respond to songs and films. If desired, students can play with different types of forms for class exercises including free verse. Students should expect to submit revisions of two or three generative exercises in the final week of the class for verbal and written feedback from your classmates and the instructor.
*No class Nov. 24
One full-ride scholarship will be awarded for this class to a BIPOC writer. To apply, please send [email protected] your bio and a brief (100-word) statement on why taking this class is important to you by Wednesday, October 27th, with the subject line "Gauri Awasthi Class Scholarship."
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.
- An understanding of form extending content
- Mastering the line breaks and sentences
- In-depth understanding of non-western poetics
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Students should expect to read 3-5 poems (with some bonus music videos or craft essays) prior to each class session and should plan to complete two mini-exercises each week, based on the forms being studied.
Prior to the third class meeting, students will share up to two poems for verbal feedback from the instructor and their classmates. In the final week of class, students will turn in 2-3 revised poems to the instructor and will receive written feedback.
Week 1: Defining Poetry, Form, and Tradition
Week 2: Study of Adapted Non-Western Forms
Week 3: Workshop and Revision in depth
Week 4: The Importance of Decolonizing and Studying Poetry
Gauri Awasthi is an Indian poet and an MFA graduate from McNeese State University. She has won awards and scholarships from the Sundress Academy For The Arts, Louisiana Office of Cultural Development, Bread Loaf Writers' Workshop, and Kundiman. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in The Wire, Buzzfeed, Notre Dame Review, Aurora Poetry Journal, and others.
"I feel Professor Awasthi is very professional and goes beyond the needs to get all her students prepared for their assignments. She's a very good teacher, and shows everything well in class."
"Ms. Gauri is one of the best English teachers that I’ve ever had. She makes sure you understand all of the criteria that she hands to you. She truly cares about you making the best work that she knows you’re capable of. I would definitely recommend her to anyone!"
"Gauri’s poetry is like the butterfly kissing the wounded heart. She knows where it hurts. Her words carry the burden of our humanity."