Eros the melter of limbs (now again) stirs me—
sweetbitter unmanageable creature who steals in
— Sappho (trans. Anne Carson)
Desire: the unmanageable creature. How do we begin to write about this unwieldy feeling, this oft-overwhelming experience? How do we look clearly and closely at our deepest loves and sharpest pains? In this workshop, we will push beyond fears of sentimentality and melodrama to write poems that engage boldly with both sides of love—the sweet and the bitter. Using poems by Anne Carson, Linda Gregg, Jack Gilbert, Louise Glück, Li-Young Lee, Adrienne Rich, Richard Siken, Tiphanie Yanique, and more, we will look at ways to “manage” even the fiercest of our feelings in our own work, while writing poems that are alive, honest, and unflinching.
Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of Deluge (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), winner of the 2021 Levis Reading Prize, the 2021 Luschei Prize for African Poetry, and longlisted for the 2021 PEN Open Book Award, and four chapbooks. Her honors include multiple Pushcart Prizes, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Cleveland State University, where she was the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Publishing and Writing. Her poems appear in The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, The Atlantic, POETRY, and elsewhere. She currently teaches at Smith College, where she is the Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence.