The Unsaid: Absence as Form

The Unsaid: Absence as Form


August 5-September 1, Online

As an instrument must have a resonating chamber in order to a sing, a poem, too, depends on empty space. “In a field, I am the absence of field,” wrote Mark Strand, speaking of his presence as disturbance, as rupture. The absence of one element can amplify the meaning of another.

In this four-week online workshop,, we will explore absence in poetry, from ellipsis to erasure. We will write poems with blank space through which implication and meaning will resonate, using the void (like a voice) to pronounce and echo. Turning to poets like Layli Longsoldier, Camille Rankine, Chase Berrgum, and even Sappho—all masters of the unsaid—we will explore ways absence is much more than a lack.

By allowing ourselves to suspend logic, narrative, and even syntax in favor of lyric and gesture, we will open up resonating chambers, allowing our poems to sing through what’s missing, making our poems whole.

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Teaching Artist


Stacey Balkun

Stacey Balkun is the author of Eppur Si Muove, Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak, & Lost City Museum. Winner of the 2017 Women's National Book Association Poetry Prize, her critical & creative work has appeared in Best New Poets 2018, Crab Orchard Review, The Rumpus, and many other anthologies & journals. Chapbook Series Editor for Sundress Publications, Stacey holds an MFA from Fresno State. Visit her online at