Online | Poetry | Workshop

6-Week Online Generative Poetry Workshop: Poetry in Conversation

No matter that old saw about the solitary writing life; every poem is ever a gesture, toward something or someone. Every poem is in conversation, not only with the reader but with other poets (past, present, and future), other forms, other genres, and other media.

In this generative workshop, best for writers with previous workshop experience, we're going to explore specific poetic forms that are explicit in their desire to engage other artists and art forms, and generate for ourselves a portfolio of work based on these explorations. Specific forms we’ll explore include the cento, the ekphrastic, the erasure, and the exquisite corpse.

Assignments will be generative in nature; no reading will be assigned, though exemplar poems will be read and discussed during class.

Every poet in the class will have the opportunity for a 30-minute telephone or Zoom conference with the instructor for more detailed discussion towards the end of the class. These sessions should be requested and scheduled before the fourth class.

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 overview of a variety of poetic forms that engage in “conversation” with other poems, other poets, etc.

- An understanding of how working in/playing with these forms encourages discovery and a state of unknowing

- 3-4 new poems, representative of the forms discussed/reviewed, as well as ideas for revision

- An approach to workshop that encourages the poet to articulate what they need and their peers to respond in kind

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Operating on the assumption that this will be a six-week workshop/class: the second, third, fourth, and fifth sessions each participant will generate a poem in a different form—one of those outlined in the class description. The workload begins before the class starts; each poet will be asked to forward or bring to class ten lines, from ten different poems, that move or inspire or trouble them. Those lines will form the grab bag from which each poet will compose a cento poem for week two. For week two each poet will also share a work of art (sculpture, painting, or photo) that inspires or troubles or otherwise moves them. For week three, then, poets will write an ekphrastic poem. For week four, poets will have composed an erasure. For week five, participants will collaborate with other poets to produce an exquisite corpse or a renga.  


WEEK ONE: The Cento as Quilt. 

WEEK TWO: The Fantastic Ekphrastic. 

WEEK THREE: The Erasure or Finding Poetry in the Prosiest Places. 

WEEK FOUR: Collaborative Poetry.  

WEEK FIVE: Line? Other Ways to Conversate. 

WEEK SIX: Workshop. 

Jubi Arriola-Headley

Jubi Arriola-Headley is a Blacqueer poet, storyteller, first-generation United Statesian, and author of original kink: poems (Sibling Rivalry Press), winner of the 2021 Housatonic Book Award. He’s a 2018 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, holds an MFA from the University of Miami, and has received support for his work from Millay Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Lambda Literary, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Jubi’s work has been featured in Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Beloit Poetry Journal, Nimrod & elsewhere. Jubi and his husband Paulo split their time between South Florida and Guatemala.


“In original kink, Jubi Arriola-Headley speaks with a voice that the old folks back home would say sounds like he has an attitude problem: ‘Fix/your face to smile like your teeth/wasn’t butter yellow.’ These poems strut about and roll their necks. There are boasts and insult. But even when this book is sorrowful, it is proud: ‘I still want Daddy/to look at me like he does those dogs. Like I could win.’”

JERICHO BROWN author of The Tradition

“This bold debut collection interrogates masculinity, family dynamics and state executions of black bodies with unflinching tenderness and a relentless compulsion to expose tyrannies both self-inflicted and externally imposed. original kink harnesses bruising, vulnerable language with biblical cadence, narrative precision and a musical dexterity to create a poetic of witness, of hymns, striving to demonstrate that ‘This is how tyrannies are/ built. Like lullabies.’”

MALIKA BOOKER author of Pepper Seed

“original kink is fixed to trick you with what seems an easy-going syntax. Careful. There’s warmth, sure. Love, yes lord. And even joy. But Jubi Arriola-Headley’s debut doesn’t go easy on religion, desire, power and the intersections where these collide with race, queerness, and gender. Throughout, the poet’s kinkiness is a crafty entanglement of hair texture, knots that upset schemes, and sexuality some demand be cut. Careful. Check: “I’m a freak, America, a peeping/Tyrone… outside looking in.” Then the poem sets its feet to throw hands. Arriola-Headley has been watching, America. He has some words for us. Perhaps we should step outside?”