“I want to believe we can’t see anything
we don’t have a word for.”
—“Translations” by Kathyrn Nurenberger
How can science and technology shape poetry and unfold the poetic self? In this workshop, we will examine the possibilities of poetry as a science of “creative reception”— that is, how we are (re)defining our connections to reality, each other, artificial intelligence and life outside our planet— and how this kind of imaginative openness can generate new languages that translates our experiences in the 21st century. We will reimagine the many futures possible in poetry, drawing inspiration from Aimee Nezhukmatathil, Terrance Hayes, Carmen Giménez Smith, Brenda Hillman, Danya Patterson, Tracy K. Smith and more.
We will spend five weeks discussing the assigned poems and essays, and you will be given prompts throughout the workshop based on the readings in order to complete in-class writing exercises, so that you’ll write new work both in class and revise it outside of workshop. For the last class, you will bring in two poems for the class to workshop. This class is open to poets at all levels of writing; just bring your imagination!
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.
- Generate many new ideas and new work as possible
- Foster in lively, engaged discussion on the readings
- Re-envision one’s poetic self amid the new, emerging virtual and scientific languages and landscapes
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
The main goal of this class is for students to generate as much new work as possible. The first five weeks of class will be for students to have in-depth discussions on the poems and participate in new generative exercises. At the end of Week 5, students should bring in at least two poems, so that during Week 6, the last workshop, each student can workshop these poems throughout the course. Course reading load for each week is 2-3 poems and an essay for 4-5 pages.
Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of the 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery, forthcoming in 2021, and the author of turn around, BRXGHT XYXS (Get Fresh Books, 2019). She is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and CantoMundo. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, POETS.org, The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, Prairie Schooner, and Electric Literature, among others. She writes for The Kenyon Review blog and recently edited a chemistry poetry portfolio for Pleiades. Find her at 7TrainLove.org
"In turn around BRXGHT XYXS, Rosebud Ben-Oni opens by summoning Matarose—her alter-ego “muse on roller skates”—a wildly original voice that channels K-pop, hip hop, and the intersectional mestiza soul of the entire borough of Queens to create a sound-driven howling lyric paean—an ecstatic queer broken love-song that’s equal parts Bonnie Tyler and bible, Prince and prayer, and 100% pure desire. Ben-Oni’s poems conjure fierce feminist magic to create a simultaneous ode and lament of a book that reminds us we are the sum of all the parts of our selves: our roots and contradictory loves, all the things we’re born into and out of, the corporeal experiences we only sometimes choose—and she brings it all home with power, humor, grace, and lines like this: “This is my blood and this / my body this time / you won’t betray me / I am your kingdom come.”"
"Mercy, these poems will reawaken a wilderness you swore you’d lost the map to. Ben-Oni is doing sacred work here, strutting across the asperous terrain of our modern world with a queer femme sovereignty that intoxicates and heals; at the center of each poem, a fragrant mosh pit. These are the ruthless texts we bitches deserve—poems that drive their readers into feral ascension—until the claws can’t be pulled back in."
"Rosebud Ben-Oni is her own genre.”
"When I started Rosebud’s workshop, I was looking to nurture a flare for creative writing that was in serious danger of dying out. Luckily, she was the perfect teacher to stoke that fire. Beyond putting together a syllabus that stretched our concepts of what poetry could be, she encouraged me and my peers to dip into the strange and the silly as we interpreted the prompts we were given. Her celebration of our growth and her thoughtful questions also gave me a model for feedback that I continue to employ when working through new writing with friends. I recommend to just about everyone I know that they try taking a workshop with Rosebud: she's a poet's poet, a teacher's teacher, and a champion for the kind of exploration, creativity, and fun that I needed to fall in love with writing again."
"Poetry workshop with Rosebud was a wonderfully exciting and supportive space where I felt safe enough to experiment and take risks with my poems. Her writing prompts provoked me to ask deeper questions of myself and the class helped me grow immensely, both as a reader and a poet. The syllabus was rich in poetry, essays, music, and videos that encouraged lively classroom discussion and powerful, engaged writing. What strikes me most about Rosebud is her big-hearted generosity and genuine interest and delight in having her students succeed."
"Rosebud is by far one of the best mentors I’ve had in a workshop setting. Her materials are thought-provoking and inspirational, and they challenge students to explore, play, and experiment. Her comments are always insightful and she creates a supportive environment where students are encouraged to be themselves, as well as to interact with each other both within and beyond the workshop. She’s generous in her feedback and with the time she dedicates to each student and is always willing to answer questions and help in any way she can."