Poets are lovers of language play: riffing with lyricism and idiosyncratic phrases to describe a thought, creating eccentric rhythms and sound patterns, using different types of speech, or blending references from sources as disparate as the Bible to pop culture. A poet’s writing practice is cultivated by a sense of the wonder often found in child’s play—trying out new possibilities with language and seeing how it can be shaped differently to share our individual experiences. In this session, we will look at poets who engage with the creative fire and dance of language play as a tool to make serious inquiries about the world around us. We will read the work of Jewish poets Samuel Ace, Rosebud Ben-Oni, and Erika Meitner. We will experiment with writing our own short poems that involve play and thoughtfulness.
Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a multi-genre writer, a 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, and was the 2019–2021 Houston Poet Laureate. She is the author of four collections of poetry, including Black Dove / Paloma Negra (FlowerSong Press, 2020), a finalist for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for 2020 Best Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters; Fuego (St. Julian Press, 2016); and Nightbloom & Cenote (SJP, 2018), a semi-finalist for the 2017 Tupelo Press Dorset Prize, judged by Ilya Kaminsky. Her poet laureate community projects include Writing and Mindfulness: Creative Writing Exercises, a free e-book on mindfulness and writing, and the poetry film IT’S A MASK IT’S A VIRUS IT’S A KNEE, a collective, communal poetry film composed of poems written by Houstonians about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is currently a faculty member at Alma College’s MFA low-residency program in creative writing. For more about her work, visit lesliecschwartz.com.
The session will be recorded and sent to participants. We encourage live attendance for you to get the most out of the experience.
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