Using Personal Experience to Inform the Poem

Using Personal Experience to Inform the Poem


In this workshop, you’ll employ all the scraps of life experience: journals, photos, remembered conversations—whatever you’ve stored up that needs to make its way into a poem. We’ll tease out memories with playful class exercises and look to poets, such as Sharon Olds, Dorianne Laux, Joseph Millar and Michael Dickman, who know how to pick at a wound and make it art. We’ll let emotion guide us to the best possible form, while listening for rhythm, encouraging humor, and paying careful attention to image as it influences, colors and serves as an emotional placeholder in our work. 

When the workshop concludes, each student will have drafts of four poems that are at once specific to the writer and resonant to the reader. 

January 7-February 3, Online

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Teaching Artist


Tina Barry

Mall Flower, Tina Barry’s book of poems and short fiction (Big Table Publishing, 2015), received two Pushcart Prize nominates and won a place in The Best Short Fiction 2016 anthology. Her writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines, as well as literary publications such as Drunken Boat; Elimae; Lost in Thought; Blue Fifth Notebook; Exposure, an Anthology of Micro-fiction; and Veils, Halos and Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women. She is a Best of the Net nominee. In 2014, Barry received her M.F.A. in creative writing at Long Island University, Brooklyn. A long-time Brooklynite, Barry now resides in the Hudson Valley. Find her at