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Revising the Pastoral: A Poetry Seminar (online seminar)

May 20, 2022 @ 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Abdul Ali

Instructor: Abdul Ali
$60 Members | $65 Nonmembers
Friday, 5/20/22 | 2:30 – 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

“Art urges voyages – and it is easier to stay at home.” –Gwendolyn Brooks

The “Pastoral” poetic tradition offers much for the contemporary poet–how to retreat from the busyness of modernity. As cliche as it may sound: less really is more. There is virtue in simplicity. Less email, more time communing with nature, observing its beauty.  I would like to invite you to spend a couple of hours with me reading poems, and creating poem drafts of your own that do just that—meditate on the life of the interior, where we cancel out the noise and let in more of nature’s music, more of the natural world, landscapes, and sunsets.

This seminar will give a short overview of the pastoral tradition over the generations to contemporary times for us to observe which poets are keeping this tradition alive, and what vibrant and interesting territory their work covers. I also want to challenge you to experiment with this tradition to make it your own. How might you appropriate the pastoral tradition to your own poetry project?  How can this tradition serve your own creative ends?

This seminar will be part discussion and part writing workshop. You can expect to think and reflect on some poems and generate some poem drafts of your own.

Abdul Ali is the author of Trouble Sleeping, his debut collection of poems that won the 2014 New Issues Poetry Book Prize and is the current Editor-at-Large of Pleiades. He has held distinguished teaching appointments at Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College, and Howard University. He is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation, the Robert Deutsch Foundation, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He has published his poems in numerous journals and publications including Copper Nickel, Plume, and Transition. Ali lives and creates in Baltimore, MD where he works in arts administration. His website is abdulali.net.

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May 20, 2022
2:30 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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508 Dale Avenue
Charlottesville, 22902 United States
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Abdul Ali