[In the behavior of termites] “it is the product of work itself that provides both the stimulus and instructions for further work.”

—Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell

“We are making birds, not birdcages.”

—Dean Young, The Art of Recklessness

The class: A small, individually focused every-other-week poetry workshop in Oakland, CA for a maximum of eight intermediate to advanced students. It’s designed to give writers a chance to meet, connect, and give and get feedback in a supportive, guided environment. There will be snacks.

What I can offer you: Personalized feedback suited to each poet’s needs. Reading recommendations. Occasional in-class writing exercises. An understanding of what it’s like to make things and how writers tend to get stuck (and unstuck). A community of others committed to doing this strange and wonderful thing. An introduction to the craft aspects of contemporary poetry. A focus on critique beyond like/dislike, as we work to understand what each poem wants to become, then explore ways to help it get there.

The workshop’s patron saints: Aunt Emily and Uncle Walt.

A few more poets whose work has informed my writing and teaching: W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich, Kay Ryan, (early) Louise Glück, (early) Jorie Graham, John Berryman, Robert Hass, Gregory Orr, Anne Carson, Jane Hirshfield, Alice Fulton, Forrest Hamer, Campbell McGrath, Linda Gregerson, Albert Goldbarth, Jane Mead, Mark Doty, Dean Young, Marianne Boruch, Charles Wright, Brian Teare, Rachel Zucker, Bob Hicok…

The nuts and bolts: The workshop meets every other Monday from 7-9:30 PM in North Oakland, with breaks for major holidays. Cost is $450 for each set of eight classes. If you miss a class, you can email me a poem for critique any time during the following week.

Contact me for more information or to sign up.

I also offer individual mentoring and editing in person or via phone/e-mail.