I’ve just finished teaching my Urban Poetry workshop with Oakland Word and feel very grateful to everybody at Oakland Public Library, most especially Kenji Liu, for this chance to share my love of poetry with all these fine writers.
Our classes ended up being wonderful sessions of generative exercises, open conversation about poetics and city, and great talks with visiting poets Tara Betts (who came through one weekend between VONA sessions) and Barbara (who shed light on the publication process and her take on urban poetics). More than anything, through all these conversations about poetics, I was able to add a new personal definition for poetry: Poetry is generosity.
Yeah, some might say risk or truth or expression; some might even say language or song or act; and I might agree with some of those definitions but now the first thing that will come to mind is generosity. How poetry is a gift, passed from the page and meant to be shared with voice, to be given freely without asking for nothing more than a piece of time to help in the passing. Yeah, overly romantic for sure but I like when I feel this way about poetry.
Now I’m looking forward to switching roles and not being the instructor who talks so much but the student who is listening as the writers of the Urban Poetry class, Claire Light’s fiction & non-fiction writers, and Amir Rabiyah’s Intro to Poetry class share their work at the Oakland Public Library. C’mon through, it’s going to be great!
Oakland Speaks! An Oakland Word student poetry reading
July 29 · 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Join us at the Oakland Public Library’s Main Branch for Oakland Word’s final student reading as we celebrate the poets of our June-July free workshops.
Students from Amir Rabiyah’s Speak On It (Main) and Oscar Bermeo’s Urban Poetry (Chavez) workshops will be getting on the mic to share their poetry, and we’ll get to hear students from Claire Light’s workshop of continuing fiction and non-fiction writers.
Come through to support our new and emerging poets!
Free copies of Oakland Word’s In Your Ear anthology will be available, and possibly a chapbook of the June-July workshops’ poetry.