graphic delve into dickinson - Dwelling in Possibility

Dwelling in Possibility
The Pleasurable Path of What if Poems
Thurs., November 21, 6:30pm ET


graphic delve into dickinson - Dwelling in PossibilityFor any questions, please e-mail

Registration is required for this virtual program and is offered on a sliding scale from $5 – $20.
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Amid her many unforgettable poems, a surprising number of Emily Dickinson’s poems begin with an “IF”. 

If she had been the Mistletoe/ And I had been the Rose/ How gay upon your table/ My velvet life to close

If pain for peace prepares/ Lo what “Augustan” years— 

If I should die/ And you should live/ And time should gurgle on— 

These iffy openings not only destabilizes the present, it opens the poem to the richness and pleasure of multiple imaginative  realms.  Yet how does the “if” help us read Dickinson, and poetry more broadly? If we began our own writing with an if, what words or worlds might we discover?  In this workshop, we’ll examine Dickinson, as well as other poets across time,  looking at poems that begin in speculative space, exploring how we too might write poems that begin in surprise and motor towards wisdom, or delight. Our time will include close reading, discussion, and prompts.

Headshot of Tess Taylor

Headshot of Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the author of five acclaimed collections of poetry including Work & Days, which was named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by the New York Times. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Tin House, The Times Literary Supplement, CNN, and the New York Times. Taylor has been Distinguished Fulbright US Scholar at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University in Northern Ireland, and the Anne Spencer Poet-in-Residence at Randolph College. She has also served as on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered for over a decade. Taylor lives in El Cerrito, California, where she tends to fruit trees and backyard chickens.



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