In her extraordinary 1971 essay, “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision,” Adrienne Rich explains, “I was writing very little, partly from fatigue, that female fatigue of suppressed anger and loss of contact with my own being; partly from the discontinuity of female life with its attention to small chores, errands, work that others constantly undo. . . . For a poem to coalesce. . .there has to be an imaginative transformation. . . . And a certain freedom of the mind is needed—freedom to press on, to enter the currants of your thought like a glider pilot, knowing that your motion can be sustained, that the buoyancy of your attention will not be suddenly snatched away.” This poetry workshop for women poets at all levels aims to invigorate the writing lives of its participants through curious, compassionate openness to poetic possibility. We will explore the expressive possibilities of our distinctly female experience, and each session we will use a few published poems by women to launch our discussion toward generative workshops that are as mindful as they are active, hopefully awakening an urgency to write poetry that will sustain us long after the week ends.
Robyn Schiff is the author of three collections of poetry, Worth (University of Iowa Press, 2002), Revolver (University of Iowa Press, 2008), and most recently, A Woman of Property (Penguin, 2016), which was reviewed by a number of venues including The New Yorker and The New York Times, which named it an “Editor’s Choice,” as well as the Chicago Tribune, where it was chosen as a “Best Poetry Book of 2016.” Her work has been published widely in journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, and A Public Space, and has been represented in several anthologies, including Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande, 2006), and Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (University of Iowa, 2007). Schiff teaches poetry at the University of Iowa and is a co-editor at Canarium Books.