Marianne Boruch, Poetry

Marianne Boruch

Bear River 2013

Marianne Boruch has published seven books of poems, most recently The Book of Hours. Her prose includes a memoir, The Glimpse Traveler, and two essay collections about poetry, In the Blue Pharmacy and Poetry's Old Air. An eighth poetry collection—Cadaver, Speak--is forthcoming from Copper Canyon. Recently she's had poems in The New Yorker, Narrative, American Poetry Review, The London Review of Books, Field, Poetry and elsewhere, and her awards include Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, as well as a stint as artist-in-residence at Isle Royale, our most isolated National Park. Last year, she was a Fulbright/visiting professor in the U.K. at the University of Edinburgh. She teaches at Purdue University where she developed the MFA program, and since 1988 she's also been on faculty in the Warren Wilson low-residency Graduate Program for Writers. Photo Credit: Will Dunlap

Workshop: Seeing Things

The 18th, early 19th century poet William Blake was pretty offhand about it eventually, those angels he saw in a tree when he was 9, and again at 14, the ones just standing around among the threshers in a field, and that chat he had with the angel who served as Michelangelo's favorite model for figures in his frescos. Our goal in this workshop is more modest and earthbound: to see things, the odd, everyday stuff--the beloved particulars, I call them--and trust them, not one's previous intention, to lead the poem as it gets written, and in revision.

Which is to say, the work of this workshop will be about habits of attention, a "habit of art" as Flannery O'Connor calls it, our eye on hard image and its wily, rewarding connection to more reflective, abstract elements in each poem we discuss, how that makes for meaning and verve, and surprise. In addition, to aid and abet this seeing--seeing through--we'll be doing "imagery workshops," exercises to deepen our habits of observation and recall.

Blake also said "I can look into a knot of wood until it frightens me." To be a little scared about what our poems open to us--that is something else we'll orbit.

Marianne Boruch on the Web