Poetry Seminar: Secrets & Rumors, Apollo & Dionysus

Dates: Monday, February 15 (President’s Day), from 10 am to noon and 1 pm to 3 pm, Pacific Time Zone. Find your time zone.
Location: Online via Zoom
Faculty: Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar
Tuition: $95.00 usd
Registration: available below, or by contacting writing@kahini.org


Class Description

This online poetry seminar will take place in two parts: 

10 am to noon: Secrets & Rumors

The Secret Sits

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows. 
~Robert Frost

Using the poems of Rilke, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Wendy Mnookin, Susan Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, and Gary Soto we’ll discuss how the secret swirls at the center of the poem, a dark magnetized core, caught between the shifting forces of attraction and repulsion.

1 pm to 3 pm: Apollo & Dionysus

This workshop takes its title from Nietzsche’s essay on “The Birth of Tragedy,” wherein he cites the dialectic between these two forces in the human character as making up the main wellspring of art, from the time of the Greek golden age to the present. Both of them sons of Zeus, their influences oppose each other in our consciousness.

Apollo, god of the sun, represents light, vision, the mind, harmony and proportion, clarity, logic, and the principle of outline and distinct individuation. Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry, represents the dark, sounds, the passions, chaos, intoxication, emotion, and the undifferentiated.

We’ll look at various poems to see how these two forces manifest themselves, and then we’ll write poems of our own with an eye and ear toward their embodiment in our own work.



Dorianne Laux’s sixth collection, Only As the Day is Long: New and Selected Poems was named a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her fifth collection,The Book of Men, was awarded The Paterson Prize.

Her fourth book of poems, Facts About the Moon, won The Oregon Book Award and was short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

Laux is also the author of AwakeWhat We Carry, a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award; Smoke; as well as a fine small press edition, The Book of Women. She is the co-author of the celebrated text The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry.

Joseph Millar‘s first collection, Overtime, was a finalist for the 2001 Oregon Book Award. His second collection, Fortune, appeared in 2007, followed by a third, Blue Rust, in 2012. His latest collection Kingdom was released in early 2017.

He has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in such magazines as DoubleTake, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, APR, and Ploughshares.

Millar teaches in Pacific University’s low-residency MFA Program and in North Carolina State’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.



Poetry Class with Dorianne & Joe