In the Open Poetry Workshop, starting Wednesday September 21, poets of all ages and experiences, styles and interests, are invited to “come together in joyful rebellion, voyage, and revolution through poetry.”

We interviewed instructor Erica Mena for more insight on what to expect:


How does an Open Poetry Workshop work?

An Open Poetry Workshop is just that: it’s open! It’s open to whatever the participants are currently working on, or to work created in response to the texts we’ll read together. It’s open to people who have never written poetry before and want to give it a try, to people who are seasoned poets, and everyone in between. Most of all, it’s open to one another as readers and writers. We’ll work on a open to possibility model, rather than a critique model, where we talk about the possibilities of the works on their own terms. 

How can poetry be a form of rebellion or contribute to a revolution? How will this be explored in class?

Making and valuing art is, I think, a pretty radical act already. Forming community around that act can create the catalyst for revolution. We will talk about what we’re writing for, and what the writers we’re reading are writing for. By focusing on what we value, what is possible, and what motivates us we can find ways to rebel in our poetry, and as a community.

How will the writing exercises in class be influences by the writers you have selected? What led you to choose these writers?

The writers we’ll read have several things in common: they are all experimenting with formal poetics in their work, and are all writing from minority subject positions as writers of color and queer writers. Our exercises will flow from looking at their ways of experimenting with language formally and explore the possibilities for expression when language itself is a mode of rebellion. 

What might students consider in preparation for this class? Is it okay if students don’t have any prior experience?

It’s absolutely great if students don’t have any prior experience! The main thing to consider in preparation for this class is that we will be trying to be open to play, experimentation, risk, failure, and fun. 

DATE: Wednesdays, Sept. 21- Oct. 12 (4 weeks)
TIME: 6:30-9:00pm
WHERE: 186 Carpenter Street, Providence RI