Good political poems are nearly as hard to write as a love poem, but passion fuels them both. An increasing disparity between rich and poor, revived racist agendas, a re-definition of torture, seemingly ineradicable war, violence toward immigrants and a discounting of art and culture has created a need for poets to speak out. We’ll look at a selection of poetry from Shelley to Lola Ridge, Adrienne Rich to Tusiata Avia to LaTasha Nevada Diggs, in English and in translation, to discover what makes a political poem powerful. We’ll also discuss the difference between sympathetic voyeurism and empathy with regard to situations far from our doors. Most importantly, we’ll talk about silence and self-censorship, their devastating effects on the integrity of art. Participants will write new material from exercises and we’ll discuss the results.
Limited to 12 participants. To reserve your space contact Kirsten Le Harivel at [email protected].
A recent recipient of a Guggenheim in fiction, Terese Svoboda is the author of seven books of poetry, six novels, a memoir, a biography, and a book of translation from Nuer, a South Sudanese language. She has won the Bobst Prize in fiction, the Iowa Prize for poetry, an NEH grant for translation, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, a Jerome Foundation prize for video, the O. Henry award for the short story, a Bobst prize for the novel, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay. She is a three time winner of the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and has been awarded a James Merrill writer-in-residency, a Hawthornden and Bellagio fellowship for a libretto. Her opera WET premiered at L.A.’s Disney Hall in 2005. Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet (biography) and Professor Harriman’s Steam Air-Ship (poetry) appeared in 2016. “Terese Svoboda is one of those writers you would be tempted to read regardless of the setting or the period or the plot or even the genre.”–Bloomsbury Review. She is visiting New Zealand as part of the Auckland Writers Festival with Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet. Ridge spent twenty-three years formative years in Hokitika.