Online | Poetry | Workshop

6-Week Online Poetry Workshop: Writing Poetry of Peculiar Joy(s)

“What never comes when called.

What hides when held.”

—Alan R. Shapiro, “Joy”

In these trying times of social distancing and anxiety, how do we connect? How can we reframe our expectations for the future, our hopes and happiness, through a poetry of a new, sometimes painful but necessary candor? In this workshop, we will examine the complexities of joy and feeling joy through the lenses and modes of the cacophonous, fragile familial ties, and even the elegy, develing into contemporary poetry by Carolina Ebeid, Helen Mort, Natasha Tretheway, Dorothy K. Chan, Ross Gay, Traci Brimhall, Keith S. Wilson, Darrel Alejandro Holnes and more.

For six weeks, we will spend the first half of workshop discussing the assigned poems, and you will be given prompts throughout the workshop based on the readings in order to complete writing exercises. During the second half, we will workshop a poem each from three students every week; each student will workshop at least two poems. For the last class, you will bring in two to three poems that you have revised for the class to workshop. This class is open to poets at all levels of writing.

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 Zoom desktop client so you have access to all platform features.


- Generate many new ideas and as much new work as possible

- Participate in lively, engaged discussion on the readings

- Explore, in depth, the complexities, shadows and even contradictions that the idea of joy holds and dispels within us and our world, as expressed in and through poetry

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students will have 2-3 poems to read and two exercises to complete every week, based on those poems, along with workshopping 2 poems minimum during the first 5 weeks; throughout the course they should be working on revision. For the last week, they must turn in 2-3 revised poems they wrote during the course.


Week 1: Descend into the Din & Racket

Poems by Carolina Ebeid, Helen Mort, and more

Week 2: Elegy as Epiphany

Poems by Natasha Tretheway, Penelope Cray, and more

Week 3: Family (Un)Tied

Poems by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Dorothy K. Chan, and more

Week 4: {Human} Nature

Poems by Jay Deshpande, Ross Gay, and more

Week 5: Re{Envisioning}, Letting Out, our Worlds Within

Poems by Keith S. Wilson, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, and more

Week 6: Ascending into the Joyfully Peculiar

A full day of workshopping & sharing your poetry

Wrap-up thoughts & additional readings & exercises

Rosebud Ben-Oni

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,, 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


"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."

Leonora Simonovis former student

"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."

Yamini Pathak former student

"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."

Patrick Mullen-Coyoy former student

"Rosebud Ben-Oni is her own genre.”

poet Dorothy K. Chan on “I Guess We’ll Have to Be Secretly in Love with Each Other & Leave It at That”

"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."

Rachel McKibbens poet

"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.”"

Erika Meitner poet