Writing on the Other Side of the Wall: At the risk of being labeled (*shudder*) “confessional,” we will explore ways to reach and write material that we continually shun—or steadfastly ignore—usually because prohibitive emotional content makes it so difficult to access. Writing about stunning sunsets or a first kiss is fine–but the work that changes us, that gives us the resilience to move from one human moment to the next, often lies on the other side of a wall that most of us have decided it’s best not to approach. We’ll approach it, we’ll scale it, we’ll scare ourselves more than a little—but the poems we find in that shadowy, uncharted territory will be well worth the journey.
Sunday morning, Oct 15, 2017, 9am, Washington State History Museum. $50 for the first 15 Gold Pass Holders who register.
Patricia Smith is the author of six critically-acknowledged volumes of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, which was awarded the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress, was the winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy American Poets, and was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series winner (all from Coffee House Press); Close to Death and Big Towns, Big Talk (both from Zoland Books), and Life According to Motown, just released in a special 20th anniversary edition (Tia Chucha Press). She also edited the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir. Her contribution to the that anthology, the story “When They Are Done With Us,” won an award from Mystery Writers of America and was published in Best American Mystery Stories. She is a Cave Canem faculty member, a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island and a faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program.