Laboratory Poetics with Danez Smith

Join Danez Smith's final Cave Canem Spring Workshop session, for a reading from students and Smith themself.

Poets often reach towards specific forms in order to propel or control a poem, they also might be reaching for a bit of challenge or exploration, but what if we go beyond sonnets or sestinas, and instead choose an experiment of our own design? While free verse poetry has always been a succulent wilderness to venture into in search of a poem, the constraints and encouragements of a bespoke form have allowed for reverberations that would not have been found unless constructed in the limits of invented form. “Constraint” doesn’t always mean limitation when it comes to form. Constraints are agreements between the poet and the form. A constraint can be used to hinder or control, but it can also encourage abundance and play. In this workshop, we will explore the wonders found in recently invented forms like the Bop, the burning haibun and the Molotov sonnet before turning our attention to forms we pattern ourselves. This workshop is for those looking to push the limits on their work as well as those looking to take the brakes off completely.

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Danez Smith is the author of three collections including Homie and Don’t Call Us Dead. For their work, Danez was won the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and have been a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in Poetry, the National Book Critic Circle Award, and the National Book Award. Danez's poetry and prose has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York TimesThe New YorkerGQBest American Poetry and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective. Former co-host of the Webby nominated podcast VS (Versus), they live in Minneapolis near their people.

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